The FBI has charged six people for allegedly operating an illegal $30 million money-transmitting business using cryptocurrencies, according to court documents filed Wednesday in the Southern District of New York.
The six – Shaileshkumar Goyani, Brijeshkumar Patel, Hirenkumar Patel, Naineshkumar Patel, Nileshkumar Patel and Raju Patel – operated without an appropriate money transmitting license in New York, according to the filing.
The details, disclosed in the unsealed affidavit of an FBI agent seeking the individuals’ arrest, reveal that between July 2021 and September 2023 they conducted the illegal business by using the darknet to convert bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies into cash.
The U.S. Magistrate judge has granted the conditional release of at least one of the people named, Naineshkumar Patel, according to a court document.
The filing cites an unidentified co-conspirator as saying that at least some clients “made money by selling drugs” and that the wealthiest clients “were hackers.” The co-conspirator told an undercover officer that he had made approximately $30 million over three years through the exchange of cash for virtual currency.
On Feb. 7, 2023, law enforcement arrested an individual who had been mailing packages of cash on behalf of the unnamed co-conspirator from a post office in Westchester County, New York. The arrested individual would later become a confidential source and for the next eight months cooperate with law enforcement in approximately 80 controlled pick-ups of cash totaling approximately $15 million.
The filing has photographic and video surveillance evidence of the accused in the act alleging that the defendants are not registered and do not have a licensed money-transmitting business, which is required in New York.
Edited by Sheldon Reback.