Mexican Drug Cartel Members Charged with Money Laundering Via Bitcoin Casinos

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A couple of weeks back, the US Department of Justice has charged six individuals with money laundering. The persons were part of a Mexican drug cartel that has been laundering money through Bitcoin casinos for a long time. Evidence revealed that the cartel members used local and foreign bank accounts for their activities and mobile apps such as WeChat and WhatsApp to communicate.

They now face up to 14 charges that include money laundering, attempted fraud, and bribery among others. This isn’t the first time Bitcoin casinos have been used as a front for illicit activities, with money laundering networks being discovered in Asia and elsewhere.

Part of an Organized Group

On October 15, the DoJ filed charges against six people aged 40-46 that have allegedly been using cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin casinos to launder money for infamous Mexican drug cartels. The investigation has been going for more than 4 years and reached its climax in mid-October after the criminals have been apprehended.

While no cartel names have been released, the infamous Sinaloa cartel is speculated to have been involved. The defendants have been using domestic and foreign bank accounts to launder the funds. The money was smuggled as bulk cash into the US before being laundered in the casinos.

One of the criminals, Tao Liu, tried to bribe an officer with money to create fake passports that will enable the group to come into the USA legally. His offer included cash or cryptocurrency as a reward.

The group faces up to 14 charges that go beyond simple money laundering. The DoJ has slapped them with bribery, fraud, and conspiracy to distribute cocaine as well. Each of the six members of the group faces up to 10 years in prison, but some may even get a life sentence behind bars.

No major Bitcoin casinos have been revealed in the indictment, which means that the sites were constructed fast and most likely didn’t even have a license to operate.

The DoJ Warns of a Possible “Storm” of Terrorists Using Crypto

US Attorney General William P. Bar announced that the DoJ expects a storm of terrorists using crypto in the coming period. The DoJ released an 83 pages-long framework that presents a roadmap to the currency crypto landscape. It studies the ramifications of technological crypto advances and warns of a “possible oncoming storm” caused by the increased use of cryptocurrencies among terrorist from the Middle East and elsewhere.

The DoJ has a number of mechanisms that will allow them to exert force over foreign actors. If terrorists start using a crypto network to defraud US citizens, the DoJ will exert full force to prevent that from happening.

And, while drug cartels and terrorists are illegally using cryptocurrencies for their nefarious goals, Bitcoin online gambling and the cryptocurrency itself are booming in popularity. Bitcoin’s price went up during the coronarivus pandemic, and more and more countries are joining the list of crypto-friendly regions.

November 11, 2020: • No Comments

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