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Localbitcoins User Pleads Guilty to Running Unlicensed Crypto Business — Faces Up to 5 Years in Prison – Regulation Bitcoin News


A crypto trader has been convicted in the US for running an unlicensed money transfer business using Localbitcoins and Paxful. He faces five years in federal prison and a possible maximum fine of $250,000.

Cryptocurrency trader apologizes

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) continues to take action against crypto traders who use services like Localbitcoins and Paxful to buy and sell crypto as a business without a license. The latest case involves Hien Ngoc Vo, a 49-year-old man from Seattle, Washington, who runs an unlicensed cryptocurrency business in Houston, Texas.

The DOJ announced Wednesday that Vo pleaded guilty to operating an unlicensed money transfer business in the Houston area between March 16 and June 8, 2016. The Justice Department detailed:

Vo used Paxful and Localbitcoins to buy and sell bitcoin… He profited from the sale by collecting a percentage of transactions ranging from 5-30%.

Within the specified three months, Vo’s unlicensed business received and transferred approximately $515,147.19 in BTCThe DOJ described, adding that the customer paid him with cash, direct deposit, an American Express credit card as well as Amazon and a regular gift card.

However, “During the transactions, Vo did not ask the customer for any form of identification nor the purpose for which they purchased the cryptocurrency,” the Justice Department noted.

Noting that Vo was allowed to remain on bond pending sentencing on September 5, the DOJ concluded:

Vo faces five years in federal prison and a possible maximum fine of $250,000.

What do you think about this case? Let us know in the comments section below.

Kevin Helms

An Austrian Economics student, Kevin found Bitcoin in 2011 and has been an evangelist ever since. His interests lie in Bitcoin security, open source systems, network effects, and the intersection of economics and cryptography.




Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

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