Lakeland, FL (Law Firm Newswire) May 14, 2014 — This interesting case is the first of its kind involving Bitcoin virtual currency.
“Recently two Florida men were arrested in Miami-Dade for using Bitcoin virtual currency in an alleged money laundering scheme. The charges for this case, which I am not involved in, are allegedly engaging in an unlicensed money servicing business and money laundering. Thirty-year-old Abner Espinoza and 28-year-old Pascal Reid remain in custodial care,” indicated Thomas Grajek, a Lakeland criminal defense attorney.
The unusual aspect of this case involves the use of Bitcoins, adding a new twist to the old crime of money laundering. These days Bitcoins are being used to buy a number of things legitimately, but they are also apparently being tested for use in drug circles for buying and selling transactions. This case may turn out to be one of the first Florida state prosecutions involving money laundering with the surrogate money.
This is not the first time Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin has run afoul of the law, despite their urging that coin users remain in compliance with local laws. In New York, federal prosecutors have filed multiple charges linked to Bitcoin against the “Dread Pirate Roberts” aka Ross William Ulbricht. Ulbricht was arrested and charged with allegedly operating the Silk Road website, a drug website where buyers used Bitcoin to initiate and complete transactions. The man goes to court in November 2014.
This case came to the attention of Miami police officers that were tipped off about a number of individuals dealing in high volume Bitcoin activity. Officers explain that buying Bitcoins lets real money move anonymously globally in the blink of an eye. When Bitcoins are used as they are intended to be used, they are a viable alternative to transferring actual cash. However, Bitcoins are seen by many as a way to launder dirty money or to buy and sell illegal goods, including stolen credit card information.
Despite the fact that prosecutors in New York seem to have an overwhelming amount of evidence against Ulbricht, the same may not be the case locally. “This is a difficult crime to prosecute because typically cases like this take a long time making their way through the courts. Anyone charged with such an offense needs to discuss their case with a competent criminal defense attorney. There are so many loopholes in cases like this that an accused needs assistance to navigate the legal maze they are facing,” adds Grajek.
Learn more at http://www.flcrimedefense.com/
Thomas C. Grajek
206 Easton Drive, Suite 102
Lakeland, FL 33803
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