Russian National Extradited to the U.S. to Face Crypto Money Laundering Charges

Alexander Vinnik, a Russian national accused of running an illegal crypto exchange BTC-e was extradited to the United States to face fraud charges. 


In a statement, Kenneth A. Polite Jr., an assistant attorney, pointed out:

“After more than five years of litigation, Russian national Alexander Vinnik was extradited to the United States yesterday to be held accountable for operating BTC-e, a criminal cryptocurrency exchange, which laundered more than $4 billion of criminal proceeds.”

He added:

 “This extradition demonstrates the Department’s commitment to investigating and dismantling illicit cyber activity and would not have been possible without the relentless work of the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs.”

Following a 21-count superseding indictment charge in January 2017, Vinnik was put into custody in Greece in July 2017 based on a request made by the U.S.


The indictment noted that Vinnik, with his co-conspirators, administered, operated, and owned BTC-e, a significant online money laundering and cybercrime entity that permitted Bitcoin trading among users. 


The report noted:

“The indictment alleges BTC-e facilitated transactions for cybercriminals worldwide and received criminal proceeds from numerous computer intrusions and hacking incidents, ransomware scams, identity theft schemes, corrupt public officials, and narcotics distribution rings.”

During the course of operation,  BTC-e received Bitcoin worth more than $4 billion. Furthermore, it enhanced crimes ranging from drug trafficking to public corruption, tax refund fraud schemes, identity theft, and computer hacking. 


In December 2020, Vinnik was imprisoned for five years by a Parisian court, Blockchain.News reported.


At the time, he was sentenced for money laundering as part of an organized criminal group and for providing false information about the origin of the proceeds. He was also accused of extortion and numerous cybercrimes.

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Victims of BitConnect Ponzi Scheme to Benefit from the Liquidation of $57M Crypto Assets

Tagged as the largest cryptocurrency scam on American soil, the BitConnect fraud scheme siphoned more than $2 billion from investors before going underground in January 2018. - 2021-11-17T172959.693.jpg

Victims might feel relieved as the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California, and the U.S. Postal Investigative Service has been granted a court order to liquidate Bitconnect’s crypto proceeds. 

The cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and Dash, worth approximately $57 million, will be sold at current rates after being seized from Glenn Arcaro, a top American-based BitConnect promoter.

Arcaro pleaded guilty for his participation in the crypto fraud scheme, making BitConnect emerge as the biggest cryptocurrency scam to be ever charged criminally. 

The Justice Department acknowledged that Arcaro is scheduled to be sentenced in January 2022 and faces imprisonment of up to 20 years. 

The crypto scam never end

Crypto scams continue wreaking havoc as victims lose vast amounts of money. For instance, in 2020, a Romanian programmer confessed to helping create Bitclub Network, a Bitcoin mining Ponzi scheme that siphoned off funds valued at $722 million. 

Moreover, Plus Token Ponzi scheme, a global pyramid network, was entrenched on Chinese soil and abroad. It caused a wide-ranging panic in June 2019, after some Korean and Chinese investors could not withdraw Bitcoin funds from their wallets, which was dismissed as a mere hacker attack.

Scammers have also devised ways to impersonate high-profile figures like Bill Gates and Elon Musk, as witnessed in the 2020 Twitter hack involving Bitcoin.

Nevertheless, the relevant authorities are cracking the whip in addressing the crypto scam issue, as evidenced by the liquidation of BitConnect’s crypto proceeds and the looming Arcaro’s incarceration. 

Furthermore, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) raised the alarm and banned John Louis Anthony Biggatton, a former Australian BitConnect representative, from offering financial services for seven years. 

Image source: Shutterstock


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