Bitcoin Exchange Operator Sentenced to Five-and-a-Half Years in Prison

The former operator of the now-defunct bitcoin exchange Coin.mx has been sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison.

The sentencing of Anthony Murgio comes months after he plead guilty to operating an unlicensed money transmission business in January. Murgio, along with alleged co-conspirator Yuri Lebedev, was first arrested and charged in the summer of 2015. Federal prosecutors later unveiled new charges against Murgio in November of that year

Coin.mx was a Florida-based bitcoin exchange that federal prosecutors alleged acted as a financial conduit for the laundered proceeds of online criminal activity. The government sought as many as 10 years in jail for Murgio, a figure that the defense pushed back against earlier this month.

Ultimately, US District Judge Alison Nathan opted for a sentencing term of roughly half that amount.

Brian Klein of law firm Baker Marquart, one of the attorneys who represented Murgio, told CoinDesk in a statement:

“The judge dramatically departed from the government’s requested sentence of over 10 years of prison time. Although we had hoped for an even lower sentence, we are pleased she made such a dramatic departure, and in so doing, we believe she validated points we raised in our sentencing submission and at the hearing today.”

The exchange was tied to a broader cybercrime scheme that infamously targeted companies like JPMorgan Chase, resulting in the theft of data from tens of millions of the bank’s customers.

Another element of the case involved a New Jersey-based credit union, which prosecutors argued in court was used to transmit cybercrime-related funds overseas. That credit union was later shut down and its former chief executive was charged with aiding Coin.mx in exchange for accepting bribes.

According to a report from Bloomberg, a follow-up hearing is set for 1st September, with Murgio remaining out on bail.

Justice image via Shutterstock

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Coin.mxCybercrimeJPMorgan ChaseAnthony Murgio

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