California Sentences Bitcoin Trader to 2 Years in Prison Over AML Compliance Failures
A LocalBitcoins trader who sold Bitcoin (BTC) to more than 1,000 people in the United States will serve two years in federal jail, a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of California confirmed on April 8.
Jacob Burrell Campos, a Mexican citizen, amassed more than $820,000 from Bitcoin sales on the P2P platform between 2015 and 2018.
Through a combination of cash meetups, ATM transfers and MoneyGram, Burrell served traders on the site without performing anti-money laundering (AML) checks and due diligence on the source of the incoming USD funds, prosecutors said.
In custody since August last year, Burrell pleaded guilty to the charges in October, acknowledging he and unnamed others took thousands of dollars across the U.S.-Mexico border daily and performed exchange transactions with Joseph Castillo, a San Diego-based precious metals dealer.
In addition to the sentence, Burrell will also forfeit his entire haul of $823,357 that he gained from the business.
The case forms the latest in an increasing number of similar stories involving U.S. informal traders, which authorities have pursued amid fears they contribute to the destabilization of the economy.
As Cointelegraph reported, Burrell originally faced up to five years behind bars.
“Today’s sentencing of Burrell is a reminder to those illegal and unlicensed money transmitters that the laws and rules apply to crypto currency dealings just as they do to other types of financial transactions,” David Shaw, Special Agent in Charge for Homeland Security Investigations in San Diego, commented in the press release.