Magazine article American Banker

N.J. Credit Union Involved in Bitcoin Money Laundering Case

Magazine article American Banker

N.J. Credit Union Involved in Bitcoin Money Laundering Case

Article excerpt

Byline: Aaron Passman

NEW YORK -- Two Florida men with connections to a $200,000-asset New Jersey credit union are being investigated by the FBI for running an unlicensed Bitcoin exchange for the purposes of money laundering.

According to the FBI, Anthony Murgio and Yuri Lebedev ran a Bitcoin exchange through a phony front-company and Helping Other People Excel FCU in Jackson, N.J., that Murgio took control of for the scheme. The two men were arrested Tuesday in Florida and are expected to appear in court Wednesday.

The FBI alleges that since late 2013 -- if not before that -- the pair operated Coin.mx, a Bitcoin exchange service that enabled co-conspirators and customers to pay a fee to exchange cash for Bitcoins. "In doing so," an FBI release said, "they knowingly exchanged cash for people whom they believed may be engaging in criminal activity." The duo are also said to have exchanged cash for Bitcoins for victims of cyberattacks involving ransom money.

Murgio and Lebedev "knowingly enabled the criminals responsible for those attacks to receive the proceeds of their crimes, yet, in violation of federal anti-money laundering laws, Murgio never filed any suspicious activity reports regarding any of the transactions."

Coin.mx exchanged at least $1.8 million for customers between October 2013 and January 2015, along with transferring hundreds of thousands of dollars to accounts in Cyprus, Eastern Europe and Hong Kong, along with receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars from bank accounts in Cyprus and the British Virgin Islands. …

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