RG Coins exchange owner sentenced to 10 years in $5M laundering case

The owner of cryptocurrency exchange RG Coins has been sentenced to 10 years in custody, following his involvement in a digital currency scam that defrauded millions from their unsuspecting victims.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Weir sentenced Bulgarian national Rossen Iossifov to the 10-year term, with a requirement that at least 85% is spent in prison under federal law. Iossifov was charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and offenses under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

According to a press release from the Department of Justice, Iossifov intentionally engaged in money laundering, supporting the proceeds of fraud while attempting to conceal his liability.

“Iossifov owned and managed RG Coins, a cryptocurrency exchange headquartered in Sofia, Bulgaria. According to the evidence at trial, Iossifov knowingly and intentionally engaged in business practices designed to both assist fraudsters in laundering the proceeds of their fraud and to shield himself from criminal liability.”

“At least five of Iossifov’s principal clients in Bulgaria were Romanian scammers, who belonged to a criminal enterprise known in court records as the Alexandria (Romania) Online Auction Fraud (AOAF) Network.”

Iossifov was also said to have allowed the scammers to avoid identification protocols, and failed on a number of basic anti-money laundering requirements.

“According to evidence at trial, Iossifov designed his business to cater to criminal enterprises by, for instance, providing more favorable exchange rates to members of the AOAF Network. Iossifov also allowed his criminal clients to conduct cryptocurrency exchanges for cash without requiring any identification or documentation to show the source of funds, despite his representations to the contrary to the major bitcoin exchanges that supported his business.”

The court heard evidence that the accused had laundered some $5 million in digital currency over three years on behalf of the scammers, from a total $7 million defrauded from the scam’s victims. He personally made $184,000 from his involvement in the scams.

Follow CoinGeek’s Crypto Crime Cartel series, which delves into the stream of groups—from BitMEX to Binance, Bitcoin.com, BlockstreamShapeShiftCoinbase, Ripple and Ethereum—who have co-opted the digital asset revolution and turned the industry into a minefield for naïve (and even experienced) players in the market.

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