Charlie Shrem and Robert Faiella have pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting an unlicensed money transmitting business in New York federal court, Reuters reports.
Shrem told the court, “I knew that much of the business on Silk Road involved the buying and selling of narcotics…I knew that what I was doing was wrong.” New York Times quoted Shrem, who was stoic and unwavering, as also saying, “I am pleading guilty because I am guilty.”
As a condition in their plea deals, Shrem and Faiella agreed to forfeit $950,000 to the government.
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Their sentencing will be in January, approximately one year after their arrests.
Shrem’s lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, is quoted by Wall Street Journal saying that the dropping of money laundering charges was a “key victory” for his client. Shrem and Faiella potentially faced up to 30 years in prison based on charges of money laundering and narcotics trafficking. With these dropped, the sentencing guidelines call for 57-60 months.
He added that Shrem was “one more step removed” from Silk Road, which he dubbed as “the heartland of illegal conduct.” Shrem, using his BitInstant exchange service, allegedly had dollars converted to bitcoins, which were then passed on to “BTCKing” Faiella who provided them as currency for drug trade on the black marketplace. The two are accused of funnelling $1 million.
Agnifilo said that his client is eager to continue his career in Bitcoin in the future.