Bitcoin Sentenced To Prison Warns Users Engaged In OTC Trading

Also recognized by their handle Rizzn, or by the moniker Doctor Bitcoin, Mark Alexander Hopkins claimed that it is a federal crime to transact Bitcoin peer-to-peer.

They also disclosed the sentence they had received in their case to their followers on social media.

The sentence

On Sunday, Hopkins started a Twitter thread in which they revealed that they could be sentenced to a federal correctional institution for anywhere between 6 and 15 months in Texas.

This was after they had pled guilty to allegedly running a crypto business without obtaining the required licenses.

According to Rizzn, they had been charged for operating a money transmitting business illegally under the law 18 U.S.C. 1960, which had originally been enacted in 1992.

They revealed that a 2019 interpretation of the said law was used by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in the United States.

Rizzn said that this means that anytime people decide to engage in a crypto trade p2p, which means they do not use an exchange, then they would be legally liable under this law as per its interpretation.

The law

Rizzn referred it to as a catch-all law and said that he had originally been suspected of being a kingpin in the scam.

However, once it had become apparent that this was not so, the authorities had been able to develop a case because he had sold his bitcoins without federal registration.

The Bitcoiner stated that they had joined the crypto space back in 2011. They claimed that in 2019, they had been one of the hundreds of thousands of over-the-counter (OTC) traders.

This was when there was a bad actor who was part of an illegal lottery scheme and was laundering their money via a trading group by making Bitcoin (BTC) purchases.

According to Rizzn, they did not have any idea that the party was under investigation for a crime and had facilitated them through fiat-to-crypto exchanges.

This resulted in them becoming a target of the authorities in the United States. Rizzn said that their house was raided in October 2019 by 15 armed FBI agents.

The Bitcoiner stated that they had cooperated with them, but could not find an attorney fluent in crypto. They had been informed that pleading guilty would mean that charges against their family would be dropped.

Illicit transactions

Rizzn said that despite being registered with FinCEN as a bitcoin seller, they had been targeted by the Justice Department because of their involvement in illicit transactions.

Prerak Shah, the acting US attorney, had said that Hopkins had not paid heed to federal law and helped fraudsters in operating behind the back of law enforcement with the use of Bitcoin.

He also said that the source of the funds had not been identified by Hopkins, which had been between $550,000 and $1.5 million.

Many of the claims of the Justice Department have been disputed by Rizzn, as they said that they performed proper Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) practices.