U.S Authorities Charge Operators of “Unlawful Bitcoin Exchange” Coin.mx

A Federal Credit Union Chairman allegedly received over $150,000 in bribes from the operators of the bitcoin exchange.

The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the U.S Secret Service, unsealed a superseding indictment charging Trevon Gross, after he surrendered to the FBI on Thursday, with accepting over $150,000 in bribes as the Chairman of the Board of a federal credit union in New Jersey. The Authorities say that Gross was bribed by the operators of Coin.mx, an unlawful Bitcoin exchange operated by his co-defendant Anthony Murgio.

According to the allegations, they operated Coin.mx in violation of federal anti-money laundering laws and engaged in substantial efforts to evade the detection of their scheme by creating a phony front company called “Collectables Club.” This way they sought to deceive the major financial institutions through which they operated into believing their business was a forum for items such as stamps and sports memorabilia.

In addition to lying to financial institutions, Murgio and his co-conspirators deceived credit card issuers into authorizing payments and ACH transactions to purchase bitcoin. In particular, Murgio and his co-conspirators deliberately misidentified and miscoded transactions, and limited the amount of individual transactions in order to avoid arousing suspicion from the banks. They also instructed their customers to lie to banks about the transactions and to state that they were for the exchange of collectable items.

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The authorities further alleged that in an effort to evade potential scrutiny about the nature of Coin.mx, Murgio, Yuri Lebedev, and their co-conspirators took control of HOPE FCU, a federal credit union. Gross, who was the Chairman of the Board of HOPE FCU, assisted their efforts in exchange for over $150,000 bribes. With his assistance, Murgio installed his co-conspirators, including Lebedev, on HOPE FCU’s Board of Directors and transferred Coin.mx’s banking operations to HOPE FCU.

Gross is charged with corruptly accepting payments as an officer of a financial institution, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. Murgio and Lebedev are charged with conspiracy to corruptly make payments to an officer of a financial institution, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Murgio is also charged with corruptly making payments to an officer of a financial institution, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. In addition, Murgio is charged with: conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, each of which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

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