An FBI investigation has uncovered a shadowy “cash-for-Bitcoin” scheme in New York City, where a group has been accused of laundering at least $30 million through a covert service aimed at helping crooks wash cryptocurrency they steal.
404 Media reports that in New York City, a secretive group operated in the shadows running a sophisticated Bitcoin laundering ring. Their alleged operations were not the usual online transactions common in the cryptocurrency realm. Instead, they delved into the real world, involving bags filled with cash, discreet meetings with crooks, and communicating via encrypted chat apps.
It has been revealed through court records that a gang in New York has been operating a “cash-for-Bitcoin” service for several years, which generated a minimum of $30 million. The gang members would stand on street corners with plastic shopping bags full of money, conduct drive-by pickups, and even lay out hundreds of thousands of dollars on tables in restaurants and other meeting places.
The cyber crooks avoided conventional online Bitcoin exchanges, which often collaborate with law enforcement agencies. They opted for a more underground approach, where large sums of money, often ranging between $100,000 and $300,000, changed hands in prearranged locations, facilitating the conversion of Bitcoin into cash away from the eyes of the law. This type of service would be particularly useful for scammers who steal cryptocurrency from their targets and want to make it dificult for sleuths to follow their transactions.
The FBI, in a detailed investigation, employed confidential sources and undercover agents to unearth the hidden operations of this group. The FBI began an investigation in April 2021 after discovering a vendor on several dark web marketplaces offering to ship cash via the U.S. Postal Service in exchange for cryptocurrency. The investigation led to the identification of several individuals linked to this underground Bitcoin exchange, who are now facing legal scrutiny for their alleged involvement in this unregistered and unlicensed money transmitting business.
Read more at 404 Media here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship.