“Unveiling the intricate web of a Cash-for-Bitcoin scam, 5 Indian Americans found themselves at the center of a $30m money laundering operation in New York.”
Five Indian Americans are currently under investigation for an illegal $30 million cryptocurrency exchange scheme that was operating in New York. According to an investigative report by 404 Media and Court Watch, this fraudulent operation broke all the rules of the multi-million dollar Cash-for-Bitcoin scam.
The investigation has exposed a criminal syndicate where digital currencies like Bitcoin were being laundered into cash, despite the presence of legal online exchanges such as Coinbase. Court records have documented scenes where individuals meet on street corners with bags full of cash.
The accused individuals, Shaileshkumar Goyani, Brijeshkumar Patel (aka Samir), Hirenkumar Patel, Naineshkumar Patel, Nileshkumar Patel, and Raju Patel (aka Jay), have been accused of running this illegal Bitcoin exchange with a high level of criminal sophistication, bypassing legal scrutiny.
The operation came to light in April 2021 when the FBI discovered a vendor on dark web marketplaces offering to exchange Bitcoin for cash using the U.S. Postal Service. This led to the arrest of an individual in February who acted as a conduit, mailing packages of cash from a post office in Westchester County, New York, on behalf of the gang.
The report reveals that this individual became a confidential source for the FBI, providing information on a meticulous operation where cash and Bitcoin were exchanged at prearranged locations. The operation involved exchanging around $100,000 to $300,000 about three times a week, with the serial numbers of specific banknotes acting as tokens of authenticity.
An undercover FBI agent participated in about 80 controlled cash pickups from February to September, resulting in a transaction amounting to a staggering $15,067,000. This led to the identification of multiple individuals linked to this underground Bitcoin exchange.
The investigation also uncovered how the defendants frequently traveled across state lines, with cash often marked to indicate its regional bank origins. This operation spanned across various states, including New Jersey, Massachusetts, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.
Images obtained from court records depict snippets of this covert operation, including surveillance footage showing individuals with large bags filled with cash ready to be converted into Bitcoin. The case is currently under prosecution by the Southern District of New York.
Please note that this blog is based on the information available at the time of writing and further updates may follow.
[Source: Hindustan Times](https://www.hindustantimes.com/ht-img/img/2023/10/25/550×309/HK-BITCOIN-13_1698229415739_1698229442300.jpg)