Missouri Prosecutes ‘Unlicensed’ Bitcoin Trader, Threatens 5 Years Jail
A Missouri entrepreneur faces up to five years in jail for unlicensed Bitcoin sales to undercover FBI agents.
‘Unlicensed’ Klein Sold Up To $75k To Fed Agents
Jason R. Klein, founder of technology businesses Logic Forte and Datality Networks, pleaded guilty to representing himself as a Bitcoin exchange without the appropriate state or federal licenses.
According to a release Tuesday, Klein met with undercover officers five times between February 2015 and July 2016, each time exchanging USD for bitcoins worth “between $1000 and $15000” per transaction.
Klein also levied exchange fees, which amounted to over $2000 over the course of the relationship.
“An undercover federal agent responded to an online advertisement posted by Klein. Klein told the undercover agent that his rate included a 10 percent commission “for an in-person $1,000 cash exchange,” the release states.
Missouri Prosecutes Where Florida Gave Up
The charges represent another high-profile incident of US authorities cracking down on unsanctioned trading. Last year in Florida, a man was arrested for selling $1500 worth of bitcoin to an undercover agent, despite the buyer telling him he planned to use the funds for illicit purposes.
Due to the nature of cryptocurrency under Florida law, however, a judge ultimately threw out the charges.
“By pleading guilty today, Klein admitted that he represented himself on the Internet to be a bitcoin exchanger,” the release confirms. “However, Klein was not a licensed money transmitter with the state of Missouri or with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, as required by federal and state law.”
Somewhat ironically, Klein is also the president of the Association of Information Technology Professionals in southwest Missouri. The organization exists to educate professionals on technology best practices and has around 230 members, making it the largest regional faction in the US.
The specific sentence will only be known once police investigations have concluded.
While Missouri has rarely made the news in cryptocurrency circles, the state is famous for being the jurisdiction to shut down embattled mining operator Butterfly Labs in 2014.
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Images courtesy of JRKlein.com, Shutterstock