On the evening of Jan. 7, Anatoly Legkodymov, founder of the cryptocurrency exchange Bitzlato, was arrested in Miami. The following day, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) unsealed a complaint in federal court charging him with “conducting a money transmitting business that transported and transmitted illicit funds.” According to the DOJ, Bitzlato failed to meet U.S. regulatory safeguards, including Anti-Money Laundering requirements.
Less than a month earlier, former FTX CEO Samuel Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas. In a statement, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said, “The Justice Department has filed charges alleging that Samuel Bankman-Fried perpetrated a range of offenses in a global scheme to deceive and defraud customers and lenders of FTX and Alameda, as well as a conspiracy to defraud the United States government.”
USA Damian Williams: Earlier this evening, Bahamian authorities arrested Samuel Bankman-Fried at the request of the U.S. Government, based on a sealed indictment filed by the SDNY. We expect to move to unseal the indictment in the morning and will have more to say at that time.
— US Attorney SDNY (@SDNYnews) December 12, 2022
Garland stated, “The U.S. Department of Justice will aggressively investigate and prosecute alleged criminal wrongdoing in the financial system and violations of federal elections laws.” But is it really a new day? Will U.S. law enforcement be able to go after alleged crypto criminals at home and abroad?
According to Oberheiden PC attorney Alina Veneziano, who represents executive clients under criminal investigation against U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission subpoenas and DOJ fraud allegations, the answer is yes.
“Attempts to reign in this new, unrestrained industry were inevitable,” Veneziano tells Magazine. She believes that federal government agencies are increasing their investigative efforts toward crypto crime and will utilize all the tools at their disposal — subpoenas, summons…