Man Pleads Guilty in New York for Selling Drugs, Laundering $2.8 Million in Bitcoin via Western Union


New York has seen the first conviction for cryptocurrency money laundering in a case that involves $2.8 million dollars. On April 24, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office announced that the defendants Callaway Crain and Mark Sanchez laundered the aforementioned amount of money using virtual currencies. Manhattan’s District Attorney is called Cyrus R. Vance.

Men Plead Guilty For Laundering Money With Cryptos

As per the recent announcement, between 2013 and 2018, these two individuals sold steroids and other drugs such as Viagra in the United States. In order to get their clients, they were using a website called NextDayGear on the dark web. They accepted payments in virtual currencies and using Western Union. The funds were laundered after it.

In general, customers paid in Bitcoin because is much more private than using Western Union. The defendants were laundering the funds using different intermediary wallets that tried to obfuscate the source of the funds. Meanwhile, the payments received through Western Union were laundered using false identities and international wire transfers. Both have to face between 2.5 and 2.7 years of jail. The sentence is expected to take place as soon as July 12.

Attorney Vance, commented about it:

“Online drug sellers who do business in New York should take note: whether you’re operating in plain sight or in hidden corners of the dark web, my Office has the skills and resources to follow the money, shut down your business, and hold you accountable.”

This was the first conviction for money laundering that included virtual currencies in New York.

The same DA’s office has also indicted three other individuals a week ago after dealing with drugs and laundering $2.3 million in virtual currencies. They were using preloaded debit cards to withdraw funds at ATMs in Manhattan and New Jersey.

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