Bitcoin : 5 NRIs allegedly laundered $30m in Cash-for-Bitcoin scam in NY

$30 Million Bitcoin Exchange Scheme in the Heart of New York

Bitcoin :  In a shocking revelation, a clandestine crypto exchange scheme worth $30 million has come to light in the heart of New York, leading to a high-stakes investigation. This elaborate criminal network involved five Indian Americans who displayed a remarkable level of finesse in evading legal scrutiny while operating a cash-for-Bitcoin fraud.

The investigative report, conducted by 404 Media and Court Watch, has exposed a sophisticated syndicate that successfully laundered digital currencies like Bitcoin into cash, despite the presence of legitimate online exchanges such as Coinbase. Shockingly, street corners became meeting points where large bags of cash exchanged hands.

Bitcoin Laundering Issue

The accused individuals, Shaileshkumar Goyani, Brijeshkumar Patel (aka Samir), Hirenkumar Patel, Naineshkumar Patel, Nileshkumar Patel, and Raju Patel (aka Jay), have been charged with orchestrating this illicit Bitcoin exchange operation, cunningly bypassing legal oversight.

This intriguing case unraveled in April 2021 when the FBI, investigating dark web marketplaces, stumbled upon a vendor offering to exchange Bitcoin for cash via the U.S. Postal Service. The investigation ultimately led to the arrest of an individual in February, who acted as a courier, mailing packages of cash from a post office in Westchester County, New York, on behalf of the criminal enterprise.

The confidential source created by this arrest became a key asset for the FBI, shedding light on the intricate workings of the operation. Transactions, involving staggering amounts ranging from $100,000 to $300,000, occurred approximately three times a week. The serial numbers of specific banknotes acted as tokens of authenticity between the parties involved, leaving a unique trail of evidence.

To infiltrate the criminal network, an undercover FBI agent engaged in approximately 80 controlled cash pickups from February to September, leading to a colossal transaction sum of $15,067,000. This operation had a domino effect, ultimately identifying multiple individuals connected to this underground Bitcoin exchange.

The investigation further exposed the defendants’ frequent interstate travel, with cash often marked to indicate its regional bank origins. The operation’s reach extended across several states, including New Jersey, Massachusetts, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.

Court records unveil images of this covert operation, where surveillance footage captures individuals with bags laden with cash, poised for conversion into Bitcoin, a digital refuge for the criminal underworld.

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