Jail for Bitcoin Exchange Operator

Bitcoin exchange operator for coin.mx has been sentenced to five and a half years in prison after pleading guilty for operation of an illegal Bitcoin exchange that has been linked to money laundering and breaching data for JPMorgan Chase & Co.

The Florida based man Anthony Murgio Pleaded guilty on Jan 9 for operating an unlicensed Bitcoin exchange and being involved in a bank fraud. From the period of April 2013 to July 2015, the Bitcoin exchange company processed more than $10 million.

Anthony and Co-conspirators have been linked to cybercrime as it was found out that transactions were mainly conducted by ransomware victims which is a malicious software that victims had to pay ransom to unlock data. They also have allegations of taking over the New Jersey Credit union to cover up their activity. According to prosecutors, the credit union was also used to transmit cyber related funds overseas. Even though the credit union was shut down later, the executive was still charged for aiding coin.mx in exchange for accepting bribes. Murgio and his friends processed more than $60 million during transactions of their illegal activities through the credit union.

According to the US District judge Alison Nathan during the hearing, Mr. Murgio was governed by ambition, greed and a pyramid of lies. The judge cited that Murgio’s plan as a dangerous and destructive criminal conduct. Murgio pleaded guilty and expressed his regrets for the crimes he committed which came across as sincere. With a tear in his eyes, he admitted that he regrets enticing his friends and family including his father to help him in operation of the illegal Bitcoin exchange. “I am sorry for putting myself above the law and for the damages I have caused” he said. He expressed his apologies and cited he has learnt from his mistakes and is now wiser than he was back then. His father also pleaded guilty for his acts in the scheme.

He was smart to apologize and his apologies touched the judge who reduced his sentence to five and a half years as opposed to ten to twelve and a half years as it was supposed to be according to the federal guidelines. That came as a surprise to everybody including Murgio’s lawyer Brian Klein. Prosecutors however still suggest that Murgio should serve more than a decade in prison.

A total of nine people have been involved in the JPMorgan breach and have been criminally charged as they exposed more than 83 million customer accounts.

Contrary to expectation, the owner of Coin.mx Gery Shalon pleaded not guilty to US charges after being extradited from Israel June last year. In March however, a jury convicted Yuri Lebedev and Trevoon gross for trying to conceal the activities of Coin.mx from banks and regulators. They will be sentenced soon.

Reports from Bloomberg suggest that there is a follow up hearing of the case that is set for 1st September with Murgio remaining out of bail.

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