A man from Plainwell, Michigan, is facing time in prison for several illegal weapons related crimes, some of which he allegedly facilitated via Bitcoin.
The US Department of Justice charges that Benjamin James Cance engaged in three crimes: (1) shipping gun components that are on the Federal Munitions list overseas. He allegedly conducted the transactions via the dark net, using bitcoin. (2) money laundering, in using the profits from his business to a buy a house, (3) illegal possession of an unregistered machinegun.
According to a Justice Department press release:
“He also allegedly utilized electronic currencies, such as Bitcoin, to get paid for his services in an effort to hide the nature of his activities.”
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Bitcoin has been a tool of choice for dealers of illegal contraband, as transactions are typically anonymous and generally not susceptible to reporting for suspicious activity.
In May, Australian Police reportedly seized roughly $80,000 in bitcoin as part of a crackdown on illegal weapons sales.
Cance has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is currently released on bail.
The joint investigation was conducted by the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.