The United States Department of Justice announced that Theresa Lynn Tetley, famous by the name Bitcoin Maven, received a 1-year jail term in federal prison. According to the announcement by the department, “‘Bitcoin Maven,’ who admitted to operating an unlicensed bitcoin-for-cash exchange business and laundering bitcoin that was represented to be proceeds of narcotics activity, was sentenced today to 12 months and one day in federal prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $20,000.”
Tetley was sentenced by the U.S District Judge Manuel L. Real for engaging in unlawful transactions involving Bitcoin as well as conducting illegal businesses. She pleaded guilty to money laundering and operating an illegal money transmitting business. The Drug Enforcement Administration and the IRS Criminal Investigation Unit investigated the case. They stated that Tetley was offering crypto exchange services. Additionally, they added she was not registered to operate as an exchange by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Furthermore, she did not have a customer identification process, therefore, operating a business which could lead to money laundering as well as supporting criminal activities.
The report tabled to the court also indicated that, “Tetley advertised on localbitcoins.com and exchanged, in total, between $6 and $9.5 million for customers across the country, charging rates higher than institutions that were registered with Fincen.”
The investigation unearthed her money laundering facilitation for one criminal suspected of receiving Bitcoin from illegal and unlawful activities, like the sale of drugs on the dark web. Additionally, she “also conducted an exchange of bitcoin-for-cash for an undercover agent who represented that his bitcoins were the proceeds of narcotics trafficking.”
The United States Government is working hard to stop and crackdown all illicit uses of digital currencies. It’s estimated that about 70% of the activities on the dark web are now financed through digital currencies since they are decentralized and are hard to trace. It’s believed that the elimination of illegal activities surrounding cryptocurrencies will bring in people more willing to join the sector and stabilize the markets. Bitcoin, which is the most popular digital currency, has already lost more than half of its value in 2018 after it hit its all-time high in December 2017.