A woman has been found guilty of running an illegal money laundering scam using the Localbitcoins website to conduct unlawful financial transactions.
Theresa Tetley, a 50-year-old former stockbroker from California, pleaded guilty to the laundering of cryptocurrency worth millions of dollars via the site. She was sentenced by US District Judge Manuel Real and ordered to pay a $20,000 fine on top of her jail sentence. She was also forced to forfeit 40 bitcoins, almost $300,000 in cash and 25 gold bars that she had accrued through the money laundering activities.
Tetley, who has become known as ‘Bitcoin Maven’, was caught when an undercover DEA agent pretended to be a potential customer on the Localbitcoins website. The agent, posing as a drug dealer, offered to sell her Bitcoin in exchange for $300,000 in cash.
She has also been implicated in a Bitcoin-for-cash drug ring involving William James Farber, the infamous Silk Road drug dealer who was busted last year in Los Angeles.
During the three years that Tetley operated her illegal money laundering operations, she exchanged over $6 million in currency while also working as a trader. Cardano’s Charles Hoskinson made on a comment on Twitter that indicates he believes the woman is innocent.
However, while technically exchanging cryptocurrency for fiat cash is not illegal, it seems unlikely that she would not have known that the money originated from illicit activities.
In an attempt to receive a more lenient sentence, Tetley said she had gotten involved in cryptocurrency as a hobby and it grew into a business by mistake. She claims she had no criminal intent and thought it was perfectly normal to conduct business with shopping bags full of cash.
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