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- The FBI recently filed charges against six individuals for their involvement in an unlicensed $30 million cryptocurrency money-transmitting operation in New York
- Their illicit activities, which have continued from July 2021 to September 2023, have revolved around using the darknet to convert cryptocurrencies into cash.
- Notably, one of the accused has been conditionally released, and an unidentified co-conspirator has hinted at illegal activities, including drug sales, and has claimed to have amassed $30 million in cash-for-crypto exchanges, with supporting photographic and video evidence.
The FBI last week pressed charges against six individuals accused of running an illicit $30 million money-transmitting operation using cryptocurrencies. According to court documents unveiled in the Southern District of New York, the six men are alleged to have operated in New York without the necessary money transmitting license. The affidavit of an FBI agent involved in the case outlines the modus operandi used by the six men, which saw them utilize the darknet to convert bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies into cash away from regulators, crimes that could land them in prison for many years.
FBI Flipped Gang Member
The six individuals – Shaileshkumar Goyani, Brijeshkumar Patel, Hirenkumar Patel, Naineshkumar Patel, Nileshkumar Patel, and Raju Patel – had been under surveillance for months before the FBI apprehended an individual handling cash shipments for the unnamed co-conspirator in February this year at a Westchester County post office.
The agency managed to turn the gang member into a confidential source who cooperated with law enforcement for the next eight months, a timespan which saw him involved in around 80 controlled cash pickups totaling about $15 million. The entire operation ran from July 2021 to September 2023 until police brought it to an end.
Five Remaing Behind Bars
Court documents include photographic and video evidence capturing the accused men in the act, reinforcing the claim that they were operating an unregistered and unlicensed money-transmitting business. Clearly, the gang used cryptocurrencies to try and fly below the radar, but these efforts were rendered moot by the actions of their former colleague.
The magistrate judge in charge of the case has conditionally released one of the accused, Naineshkumar Patel, with the others remaining in detention. The court filing references an unidentified co-conspirator’s claim that some clients profited from drug sales, while the most affluent ones were hackers who collectively garnered approximately $30 million over three years by exchanging cash for digital currencies.