Operating unlicensed Bitcoin exchange results in a 2-year prison sentence
Morgan Rockcoons, who also passes Morgan Rockwell, was sentenced to 21 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Battaglia for wire fraud and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.
Besides serving almost 2 yrs in prison, Rockcoons was also ordered to forfeit $80,600 in illicit profits. The Las Vegas resident has been around police custody since his arrest on October 29, 2018, and pleaded guilty on Mar. 7.
Based on a media release from the Department of Justice, Rockcoons admitted he operated a Bitcoin exchange without registering with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the U.S. Department of Treasury.
U.S. citizen Morgan Rockcoons has been sentenced to fines and prison time for running unlicensed money exchange services on LocalBitcoins.
Advertising himself on the peer-to-peer bitcoin trading network, Rockcoons made significantly more than 1,000 transactions with different users. The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) pursued him on charges of not registering his business with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
Rockcoons'sentencing marks the conclusion of a notably protracted legal battle, following his arrest in February 2018. Rockcoons attempted to sell 10 BTC to an undercover police force officer for $14,500 in cash following the officer explicitly told him that the amount of money was acquired through the production and sale of controlled substances.
The DoJ released information with this case on May 28, 2019, claiming that Rockcoons is to spend “21 months in prison for wire fraud and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business,” as well as forfeiting over $80,000 in profits.
This marks the continuation of a pattern from the U.S. federal government since it ramps up prosecution of bitcoin traders. In April 2019, the DoJ sentenced Joseph Burrell Campos to prison time and an $800,000 fine for similar charges. FinCEN itself began directly pursuing cases with this sort just a week later, levying civil damages against Eric Powers.
As in the Campos case, the DoJ claims that the charges against Rockcoons come under Homeland Security Investigations'(HSI) jurisdiction. Another similarity between those two cases is that the DoJ explicitly named LocalBitcoins.com as the mechanism where both defendants advertised their illegal services. With the website turning off all operations in Iran in late May 2019 to adhere to U.S. sanctions on the united states, the site's operators seem conscious of the chance that legal action could be used from the service itself.