The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has charged six individuals in connection with an unlicensed money-transmitting business (MSB) that allegedly laundered $30 million in cryptocurrency for drug dealers, hackers, and other criminals.
The accused individuals, Shaileshkumar Goyani, Brijeshkumar Patel, Hirenkumar Patel, Naineshkumar Patel, Nileshkumar Patel, and Raju Patel, are alleged to have operated the unlicensed MSB between July 2021 and September 2023. The MSB converted Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies into cash through a variety of methods, including cash shipped via the U.S. postal system, in-person cash pickups, and darknet markets.
The FBI has charged the six individuals with one count of conspiracy to operate an unlicensed MSB and one count of operating an unlicensed MSB. The case is proceeding in the Southern District of New York, where the criminal activity largely took place. The charges stem from an undercover investigation that began in January 2023. During the investigation, an undercover FBI agent contacted an anonymous co-conspirator who was involved in the MSB. The co-conspirator admitted to earning $30 million in crypto by swapping funds for the MSB’s clients. The co-conspirator also stated that many of the MSB’s clients were drug dealers and hackers.
In addition to the undercover investigation, the FBI also obtained information from a confidential source who had been involved in mailing cash on behalf of the MSB. The confidential source began cooperating with the FBI in February 2023 and participated in controlled cash pickups with law enforcement.
The FBI has a track record of seizing cryptocurrency involved in illegal activities. In recent years, the FBI has seized billions of dollars in cryptocurrency from criminals involved in drug trafficking, hacking, and other illicit activities. The charges against the six individuals are a reminder that cryptocurrency can be used to launder money and finance criminal activity. The FBI is committed to investigating and prosecuting those who use cryptocurrency for illegal purposes.