“US seizes top Bitcoin exchange as crackdown begins”

May 16, 2013

RT on May 15, 2013 released the following:

“The US Department of Homeland Security seized a payment processing account Tuesday belonging to Mt. Gox, the largest international Bitcoin trader, claiming the monetary exchange service falsified financial documents.

The American government has previously made it clear that officials are watching Bitcoin, a decentralized economic currency that international regulators have not yet been able to control. Many of those who favor Bitcoin use Dwolla, an Iowa-based startup that allows customers to transfer their dollars into Bitcoins.

Unfortunately for those consumers, the Department of Homeland Security issued a warrant Tuesday effectively shutting down Dwolla’s ability to process Bitcoin payments, as reported by CNET. Whether because of the DHS’ charge of operating an “unlicensed money transmitting business,” the sudden timing of the allegations, or another reason, Dwolla and Mt. Gox officials have been reluctant to comment.

“In order not to compromise this ongoing investigation being conducted by ICE Homeland Security Investigations Baltimore, we cannot comment beyond the information in warrant, which was filed in the District of Maryland [Tuesday],” said Nicole Navas, a representative for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The warrant claims Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles did not disclose he operated a financial transfer site when he opened a new bank account for the business. Money transmitting services, according to Gawker, are required to register with the Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen). Mt. Gox, which is involved in roughly 63 per cent of all Bitcoin purchases, has not done so.

Despite the technicalities skeptics are wondering if Bitcoin’s friction with the Treasury department is the cause of this recent scrutiny. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said the anonymity afforded by the service provided an “online form of money laundering” and campaigned for its downfall.

“Literally, it allows buyers and users to sell illegal drugs online, including heroin, cocaine, and meth, and users do sell by hiding their identity through a program that makes them virtually untraceable,” Schumer said during a 2011 news conference. “It’s a certifiable one-stop shop for illegal drugs that represents the most brazen attempt to peddle drugs online that we have ever seen. It’s more brazen than anything else by light years.”

Most notably, proponents have asserted that Bitcoin would be impermeable in instances where WikiLeaks, for example, saw its funding evaporate as the federal government pressured PayPal to cut off the whistleblower site’s support network. Bitcoin would be more resistant to a crackdown of that nature.

Jerry Brito, a scholar at the libertarian Mercatus Center at George Mason University, told the Washington Post Bitcoin could reduce the cost of financial services by pioneering new business formats.

“Bitcoin has the potential to be a boon to the economy and a boon to merchants,” he said, adding that it could “disrupt traditional payment networks that have not been innovative for a very long time.”

A blind governmental crackdown would only serve to push Bitcoin further underground, Brito argued.

“You can’t put the genie back into the bottle,” he continued. “I hate to say it, but the Bitcoin community needs to start lobbying. It needs to start educating policymakers, lobbyists and influencers about the pros of Bitcoin and the impossibility or the difficulty in getting rid of all the bad uses.””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Alvaro Lopez Tardon, Fabiani Krentz, David William Pollack, and Vincente Orlando Cardelle Indicted by a Miami Federal Grand Jury for Conspiracy to Launder Over $26 Million in Drug Proceeds

July 15, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Florida on July 14, 2011 released the following:

“INTERNATIONAL DRUG MONEY LAUNDERING INDICTMENT UNSEALED

Wifredo Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida and John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce today the unsealing of an Indictment charging Alvaro Lopez Tardon of Miami Beach, Fabiani Krentz and David William Pollack of Miami and Artemio Lopez Tardon of Madrid, Spain, with a conspiracy to launder over $26 million in drug proceeds. Vincente Orlando Cardelle of Miami is also charged with bulk cash smuggling. This Indictment is being unsealed in conjunction with the arrests of numerous co-conspirators throughout Spain by the Spanish National Police.

It is alleged that Alvaro Lopez Tardon (Alvaro) and his brother Artemio Lopez Tardon (Artemio), through a network of contacts in Colombia and with the assistance of Alvaro’s right-hand man David William Pollack (Pollack), arranged for the laundering of proceeds from multi-hundred kilogram quantities of cocaine smuggled from Colombia to Spain. Once in Spain, the cocaine was processed and distributed and the drug proceeds collected by other co-conspirators. Artemio, who lives in Spain, would then send Alvaro’s money to the United States either by courier or via wire transfers. Once the money was in Miami, Fabiani Krentz (Krentz) and Pollack would assist Alvaro in laundering the money through the purchase of real estate and exotic automobiles. Conservatively, from 2004 to the present, it is alleged that Alvaro has received over $26,000,000 in drug proceeds from Spain.

On April 12, 2011, Vincente Orlando Cardelle, an associate of Alvaro, was stopped at Miami International Airport, on his way to Madrid, Spain and 21,605 euros believed to be proceeds from the sale of cocaine were seized from him.

The real estate purchased by Alvaro and his associates includes condos at 100 South Point Drive, Miami Beach, FL; 1000 South Point Drive, Miami Beach, FL; 1155 Brickell Bay Drive, Miami, FL; and 325 S. Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL.

The exotic automobiles include a Bugatti Veyron, a Ferrari Enzo, a Rolls-Royce Ghost, a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, a Mercedes-Benz Maybach 57S, a Bentley Continental GT, an Aston Martin DB9, a Lamborghini Murceliago, a Lamborghini Gallardo, an Audi R8 and other Mercedes-Benz and BMWs.

If convicted, Alvaro, Artemio, Krentz and Pollack each face a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years. If convicted, Cardelle faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 5 years.

“International money launderers can no longer seek refuge behind jurisdictional barriers. The outstanding cooperation among international law enforcement agencies and governments leaves no place to hide for those who profit from the drug trade,” said United States Attorney Wifredo Ferrer.

“From the beaches of Miami to the shores of Spain, the fight against crime has no boundaries,” said Special Agent in Charge John V. Gillies of the FBI Miami Division. “This is another outstanding example of an international partnership, this time with the Spanish National Police, that disrupted a major drug organization”.

This Indictment is the result of the ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The OCDETF mission is to identify, investigate, and prosecute high level members of drug trafficking enterprises, bringing together the combined expertise and unique abilities of federal, state and local law enforcement.

Mr. Ferrer and Mr. Gillies would like to commend the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Coral Gables Police Department, the US Drug Enforcement Administration, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, the Miami Police Department, the Miami-Dade Police Department, the Miami Gardens Police Department, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the North Bay Village Police Department and the Spanish National Police for their assistance with this investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tony Gonzalez and is before Judge Joan A. Lenard.

An Indictment is only an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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