A cryptocurrency trader has been convicted in the US for operating an unlicensed money transfer business with Localbitcoins and Paxful. He faces up to five years in prison and a possible maximum fine of $250,000.

Crypto trader pleads guilty

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) continues to crack down on crypto traders who use services like Localbitcoins and Paxful to buy and sell cryptocurrencies as unlicensed businesses. The most recent such case involved Hien Ngoc Vo, a 49-year-old man from Seattle, Washington, who ran an unlicensed crypto business in Houston, Texas.

The DOJ announced Wednesday that Vo pleaded guilty to operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business in the Houston area between March 16 and June 8, 2016. The Justice Department stated:

Vo used Paxful and Localbitcoins to buy and sell bitcoin… He profited from the sales by accumulating a percentage of transactions ranging from 5% to 30%.

Within the stated three months, Vo’s unlicensed business received and transferred approximately $515,147.19 in BTC, the DOJ described, adding that customers paid him with cash, bank deposits, American Express credit cards, and Amazon and generic gift cards .

“During transactions, however, Vo did not ask customers for any form of identification or the purpose for which they purchased the cryptocurrency,” the Justice Department noted.

Noting that Vo may remain in detention pending sentencing on September 5, the DOJ concluded:

Vo faces up to five years in prison and a possible maximum fine of $250,000.

What do you think of this case? Let us know in the comment section below.

Kevin Helms

As an Austrian economics student, Kevin discovered Bitcoin in 2011 and has been an evangelist ever since. His interests lie in Bitcoin security, open source systems, network effects and the interface between economics and cryptography.

photo credit: Shutterstock, Pixabay, WikiCommons

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