US LocalBitcoins Trader Sentenced to 21 Months for Running Unlicensed Bitcoin Exchange

By Emily Rys | May 30, 2019
Unregistered Bitcoin Exchange Service Received Indictment from US DoJ

A LocalBitcoin trader has been found guilty by the US authorities and will face extensive jail time following his involvement in running an unregistered crypto exchange platform.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California, Morgan Rockoons, a Las Vegas-based bitcoin trader – has been sentenced to 21 months of jail time in federal prison, with charges against conducting a bitcoin (BTC)-based real estate fraud scheme.

Per the government press release, the fraudster carried out more than 1000 illegal transactions with over 644 customers on the P2P platform, taking up to 36% commission fee for each transaction, and has only stopped by the end of 2017.

Rockoons – whose reputation as the biggest volume trader in the region placed him under the close supervision of the San Diego police – has failed to obtain legal authorization from FinCEN –  the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network – to work as a money transmitter.

The authority has issued an indictment for Rockoons in Nov 2017 and officially brought him into custody in Feb. 2018. After getting out by paying bail, Rockoons became the head of Bitcointopia – a crypto-related criminal firm advertising non-existing real estate to scam investors off their bitcoin assets.

“Victims who sent Rockcoons Bitcoin never received their title to land as promised. To date, agents have identified at least 10 victims of Rockcoons’ fraud” – the press release revealed.

Rockoons was arrested for the 2nd time in Oct. 2018, and has later pleaded guilty to all crypto fraud allegations concerning Bitcointopia, along with running an unlicensed money transmitting business in Mar. 2019.

Rockoons is also required to submit the $80,000 fund he got from the criminal acts to the government, along with his 21-month sentence received.

Last month, another LocalBitcoins trader has reportedly sentenced by a California court to two years’ imprisonment for operating an unlicensed money transmitting business. He has been ordered to give up $823,357 in illicit profits by selling Bitcoin to more than 1,000 people in the US.


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