See you in 2023 – Bitcoin exchange Coin.mx bigwig gets 66 months in the slammer
Murgio gets off easy in money laundering case
A kingpin of the ill-fated Coin.mx Bitcoin exchange was today handed a 66-month prison sentence for conspiracy, fraud, and money laundering.
Anthony Murgio, 33, of Florida, US, will spend up to the next five and a half years behind bars for his role at Coin.mx, a haven for hackers looking to launder their profits.
The stretch is significantly less than what prosecutors had sought. At one point, Murgio was facing as long as 20 years, and at sentencing the prosecution had asked for at least 10 years. Apparently, Murgio's own remorse – as well as his generosity towards friends and family – played a part in getting the reduced sentence.
In January this year, Murgio admitted to overseeing the Coin.mx exchange from 2013 to 2015 and, in the process, laundering millions of dollars in hacking proceeds disguised as debit and credit card purchases and sales of Bitcoin. In a New York court, he pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, bank fraud, and bribery.
Later in March, his co-conspirators at Coin.mx Yuri Lebedev and pastor Trevon Gross were found guilty of bribery, wire fraud, bank fraud, and fraud conspiracy. Earlier in October, Murgio's dad Mike pled guilty to making a false statement in relation to the running of an illegal bitcoin exchange.
The US Department of Justice said Anthony Murgio first used the Bitcoin exchange to launder money for hackers. Later he enlisted the aid of a New Jersey credit union as a front for the operation, with the cooperation of Gross.
"Lies conceived and deployed by Murgio permeated every aspect of Coin.mx's operation, including its use of front companies, like Collectables Club and Currency Enthusiasts, to try to conceal the illicit nature of the operation," the DoJ said in its sentencing submission [PDF].
"When banks shut down Coin.mx's operating accounts, Murgio orchestrated a scheme to bribe Trevon Gross, the Chairman and CEO of HOPE Federal Credit Union in New Jersey, to gain control of and operate the credit union." ®