Phoenix neurologist, Peter Steinmetz, has been charged with illegally operating an unlicensed Bitcoin exchange.
In 2013, the U.S Treasury Department officially declared that exchanges and traders of digital currencies like Bitcoin are regarded as “money service businesses” and are subject to official regulations. Neurologist and gun-rights advocate Peter Steinmetz was charged by a grand jury for operating an unlicensed bitcoin exchange.
Steinmetz and Bitcoin
This isn’t the first time that the brain scientist has appeared in the national news. In 2014, he was arrested while carrying a rifle at Phoenix International Airport during a gun-rights demonstration. Steinmetz was also featured in an article from the Arizona Republic, for an anonymous Bitcoin donation worth $10,000 to the Barrow Neurological Foundation which was used in order to fund Steinmetz’ brain research project.
The Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network is accusing the neurologist and his co-defendant, Thomas Costanzo (Morpheus Titania), for operating an exchange for virtual currencies (bitcoin) and charging a fee for the service without having an official ‘state money transmitting’ license.
While their operations didn’t get much attention from authorities for several years, in 2015 undercover agents made several direct transactions worth of $160,000 in cash with Costanzo.
On April 20, the federal agents managed to arrest Costanzo after collecting sufficient evidence. Since his arrest, Costanzo has been held in federal detention and both defendants are waiting for a jury trial which begins on August 1.
Dr. Peter Steinmetz’s attorney for the trial is Brian Klein of Baker Marquart LLP, who offered his thoughts on the case:
Dr Peter Steinmetz is a highly respected scientist and a visionary. He plans to vigorously defend himself against the charges, and he is confident that when all the facts are known, he will be vindicated.
What are your thoughts on the charges? Do you think that we could see similar cases to happen again? Let us know in the comments below!
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