A New York man was charged Friday with operating a crypto money laundering scam that he publicly promoted on social media, bragging to clients he could help them stay “totally off the radar.”
The individual, a former party organizer, was charged by the Manhattan District Attorney with laundering $2.7 million in bitcoin and cash to assist various customers in concealing money gained through allegedly illicit acts.
The MDA refers to the cash-to-bitcoin operation as a “takedown” of a global bitcoin money laundering enterprise.
Using Crypto To Fund Criminal Activity
According to the MDA, Thomas Spieker, 42, and his associates utilized bitcoin to assist a variety of illicit activities, including dark-web drug transactions.
Authorities said Spieker’s clientele included dark net drug dealers selling ketamine, fake Xanax, and other illicit substances in every state in America, a hacker, and a member of an Eastern European organized criminal organization.
The MDA alleged in a statement that between January 2018 and August 2021, Spieker converted over $2.5 million in Bitcoin and over $380,000 in cryptocurrency into US dollars, using “a rotating set of accomplices” who opened bank and crypto exchange accounts to facilitate the laundering of “criminal proceeds.”
BTC total market cap at $833.68 billion on the daily chart | Source: TradingView.com
Under The Radar? Not Quite
Based on a complaint, Spieker began conducting Google searches for the keyword “bitcoin money laundering” in 2014 and published a Facebook post offering his services to persons who desired to remain totally undetected, with the knowledge that they were engaging in unlawful behavior.
Spieker waived his right to a jury trial and was released on his own recognizance. Richard Verchick, his legal counsel, declined to comment. Six other defendants entered not guilty pleas and were released on their own recognizance.
Spieker, who formerly worked in equity research at Goldman Sachs, has been a Bitcoin enthusiast since the currency’s infancy.
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The Man Known As DJ S!ck
In 2014, he was featured in a Vice story highlighting his work as a DJ known as S!CK.
The Manhattan state court case “demonstrates how emerging technologies like bitcoin can become important drivers of a broad spectrum of criminal behavior that can quickly traverse the globe,” Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg said in a statement Thursday.
Additionally, Spieker is charged with laundering $620,000 for a client who is suspected to be a part of an eastern European organized criminal network and $267,000 for the operator of an international romance fraud.
Featured image from TIME, chart from TradingView.com