Federal Indictment Charges Michigan Man With Selling Bitcoin Without License

Although it's not illegal to possess bitcoins, a license is needed to exchange them.

A Michigan man is the latest to be accused in a federal indictment for conducting an illegal money transmitting business in Bloomfield Township by exchanging Bitcoin for cash without a license.

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The indictment reveals that Bradley Anthony Stetkiw, 52, exchanged bitcoins with undercover federal agents who gave him thousands of dollars of cash on six separate occasions between 2013 and 2015.

During this period, Stetkiw conducted several transactions wherein he transferred over $1500,000 in bitcoins to customers across the United States. Part of this figure comes from undercover federal agents making a series of transactions with Stetkiw, paying him roughly $56,000 in cash in exchange for bitcoins, according to the indictment.

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Stetkiw, whose internet alias is “SaltandPepper”, established a localbitcoins.com account to conduct illegal exchanges, a few months after the federal regulators made such practices without a money transmitter license a crime.

Although it’s not illegal to possess bitcoins in the US, a license is needed to exchange them. According to the release, each time Stetkiw made the exchange, the federal agents were charged a fee. And when they attempted to get him to reveal his method of hiding money, he replied: “I’ve got a way of doing it, I’m not going to tell you how.”

The Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) alleges that Stetkiw enabled his clients to exchange cash for bitcoins, charging a fee for his service “without a federal or state money transmitting license in violation of the Bank Secrecy Act.”

A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the US Probation Office.

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