Man convicted of running unlicensed bitcoin exchange biz

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A New Hampshire man was convicted Thursday of running an unlicensed bitcoin exchange business and laundering over $10 million in proceeds of romance scams and other internet frauds following a two-week federal trial.

Prosecutors said Ian Freeman “created a business that catered to fraudsters” by failing to register his business with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network as required by law, disabling ‘know your customer’ features on bitcoin kiosks, and ensuring bitcoin customers didn’t tell him what they did with their bitcoin.

Freeman’s lawyer, Mark Sisti, said Freeman actually warned people of scams and he helped businesses in the community.

“We are definitely going to appeal,” Sisti said. “We appreciate the jury’s effort and time they spent on the case.”

Freeman, 42, a libertarian activist and radio show host, was released pending his April 14 sentence and appeal.

Five others were arrested with him last year. Three pleaded guilty to wire fraud in opening accounts at financial institutions in their names or in the names of churches to allow someone to use the accounts to sell virtual currency. They received light sentences. A fourth pleaded guilty to operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business and awaits sentencing. Charges were dismissed against the fifth person.

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