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Financial Crimes
08/23/2019

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Colorado man sentenced to 366 days for money laundering Bitcoin

DENVER – A Colorado man was sentenced Aug. 22 to one year and one day in federal prison for money laundering Bitcoin, a type of cryptocurrency otherwise known as digital cash.

This sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn, District of Colorado. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) division investigated the case.

“Criminals may be sophisticated enough to use cryptocurrency but they’re not smart enough to stay out of jail, as this conviction shows,” said Special Agent in Charge Steven Cagen, HSI Denver. “Our agents will continue to shine a light on criminals who use the dark web and Bitcoin to try and conceal their illegal activity.”

Emilio Testa, 32, an Australian national and Boulder, Colorado resident, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Raymond P. Moore, District of Colorado, to serve one year and a day in prison, followed by twelve months on supervised release.

According to court documents, beginning in April 2016, Testa was in contact with undercover agents about the need to convert U.S. dollars into Bitcoin because he preferred not to use banks or deal with taxes.

On two occasions in 2016, the defendant and undercover agents conducted money exchanges.

Testa and the undercover agents remained in contact throughout 2016 and 2017.

Testa contacted an undercover agent, again, about selling Bitcoin for U.S. dollars in March 2018.

During this meeting, Testa agreed to exchange Bitcoin for cash from narcotics proceeds.

He then laundered more narcotics proceeds in May 2018.

“Investigating cyber-enabled schemes is a top priority for IRS-CI and our special agents are experts in conducting complex financial investigations, including those committed on the ‘dark web’ with virtual currency,” said Kevin Caramucci, acting IRS-Criminal Investigation special agent in charge. “This sentence shows those choosing to conduct illegal activities, including laundering narcotics proceeds, on the dark web are not hidden from law enforcement’s radar.”

“Trying to hide criminal proceeds in Bitcoin? We’re going to find you,” said United States Attorney Jason Dunn. “Working in tandem with our federal partners, our prosecutors are leading the fight against cryptocurrency crimes.”

The case was prosecuted by U.S. Attorney and Assistant U.S. Attorney Hetal J. Doshi, District of Colorado represented the government.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 09/11/2019