DoJ Charges Two Russians For Trying to Launder 647K BTC Stolen From Mt.Gox
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DoJ Charges Two Russians For Trying to Launder 647K BTC Stolen From Mt.Gox

The indictments filed in New York and California alleged that the two Russian nationals both hacked Mt. Gox and used the illicit proceeds to launder money for other criminals.
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On June 9th, the Department of Justice unsealed charges against two Russian nationals connected to the 2011 hack of Mt. Gox. According to the announcement, the two hackers organized a scheme to launder more than 600,000 stolen BTC and operated an illicit exchange called BTC-e.

DoJ Unseals Indictments Against Mt. Gox Hackers

This Friday, the Department of Justice announced it had charged two Russian nationals in connection with the Mt. Gox hack. According to the press release, the hackers obtained access to critical wallets of the Bitcoin exchange and used it to drain around 647,000 BTC starting in 2011.

Additionally, the DoJ alleges that the two hackers—identified as Alexey Bilyuchenko (43) and Aleksandr Verner (29)—along with their co-conspirators, used the stolen Bitcoin to operate an illicit exchange called BTC-e.

According to the DoJ, the illicit Bitcoin exchange was subsequently used to launder millions of dollars for various criminals and criminal organizations. Two separate indictments against Bilyuchenko and Verner were unsealed—the Southern District of New York indictment and the Northern District of California indictment.

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DoJ Promises to Stay on Top of Crypto-Related Cybercrime

The DoJ announcement also took the opportunity to reaffirm the US Government’s commitment to staying on top of international criminal schemes, no matter the technology they use. US Attorney Damian Williams also highlighted that the indictments unsealed today prove the authorities’ ability to do so:

As cyber criminals have become more sophisticated in their methods of thievery, our career prosecutors and law enforcement partners, too, have become experts in the latest technologies being abused for malicious purposes. As alleged, Alexey Bilyuchenko and Aleksandr Verner thought they could outsmart the law by using sophisticated hacks to steal and launder massive amounts of cryptocurrency, a novel technology at the time, but the charges unsealed demonstrate our ability to tenaciously pursue these alleged criminals, no matter how complex their schemes, until they are brought to justice.

indeed. the DoJ has been active in combating cryptocurrency-related crime. One of its more recent announcements—the seizure and planned sale of Bitcoin involved in the notorious Silk Road exploit—served to heighten the tensions that led to two major rumor-induced price drops in May.

The DoJ also recently seemingly coordinated an action with US Treasury’s OFAC with regard to certain China-based North Korean nationals accused of laundering stolen cryptocurrency on behalf of DPRK. On April 24th, the two departments first announced sanctions against said individuals, and then unsealed criminal indictments against them.

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