Bitcoin’s public and pseudo-anonymous nature has reduced its preference for laundering cash. However, folks still ‘try their best’ to route money using BTC. And often fail. In one such case, justice authorities awarded a prison sentence to a couple from Hilversum, the Netherlands, for moving million euros through bitcoin.
Bitcoin Laundering Hustle Busted; 2532 BTC Worth €29 Million Seized
As per a report published in the NL Times, a Rotterdam court sentenced a couple from Hilversum for allegedly moving 16 million euros in the last 2.5 years. The man stands to serve 2 years and the woman 2.5 years. Also, the judicial authority has seized a total of 2532 bitcoins (worth 29 million euros) and an additional 250,000 euros in spare cash.
Amongst the items that the court confiscated were cell phones, hard drives, miscellaneous computer equipment, silver jewelry, a luxury watch, and a car. And along with the Hilversum couple, two trading firms who supposedly ‘looked the other way’ were fined 45,000 euros each. They also had to give up a collective sum of 138,000 euros and USD 40,000.
According to the official reports, the couple bought bitcoins worth millions of euros in cash. They facilitated the BTC trades, offering their customers considerable anonymity, which makes the case of non-reporting of the transactions to the official tax-authorities pretty much assumable.
All bitcoin purchase deals happened in public places, especially in fast-food restaurants in large cities. The selling parties never asked for personal ID papers before initiating transactions (which often had a high denomination).
As mentioned in the reports, the couple used the dark web as the most pertinent online spot for setting up trades for their customers. This can be corroborated by the Public Prosecution Service’s (OM) official statement on the case. An excerpt of it reads:
“The suspects, a man and his wife, came into contact with customers through advertisements on the internet and a marketplace on the dark web. Much of the bitcoins traded bore traces of the dark web.”
An analysis of these transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain revealed that the money funded illegal activities. Also, the folks who bought BTC from the imprisoned couple were actual criminals who used the cryptocurrency to launder their stash of black cash.
But Still, Miniscule As Compared To ‘Dirty Money’ Moved by Banks
As opposed to the laundering of millions in euros, big banks have actually helped not just criminals, but organized crime syndicates move trillions of dollars.
Recently surfaced FinCEN documents revealed the names of global banking corporations that have knowingly transmitted trillions in fiat cash for Ponzi schemes and terrorist organizations. Amongst them include illustrious names such as HSBC, Standard Chartered, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and more. These ‘well-reputed’ and ‘trusted’ companies have been collecting significant fees while flying under the radar for years.