New York Bitcoin Trader Pleads Guilty to Unlawful Money Transmission

A New York-based bitcoin trader has plead guilty to unlawful money transmission and making false statements to federal officials.

Richard Petix of Rochester, NY was originally charged with making false statements in late 2015, according to court records, after he told probation officials in October of that year that he wasn’t using any computer device, as required following of a 2009 conviction on a charge of knowingly transporting child pornography in interstate commerce.

Yet Petix, the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York said this week, had been operating a bitcoin trading business, and on 3rd December 2015, sold 37 bitcoins (an amount worth roughly $13,000, according to then-current prices) to an undercover agent.

The office said in a statement:

“Using his laptop computer and smartphone, the defendant transferred approximately $13,000 in the form of 37 bitcoins to an address specified by the agent. When confronted by federal probation officers at the scene, however, Petix claimed that the laptop and smartphone were not his and that he could not access them.”

Prosecutors further alleged that Petix sold more than $200,000 worth of bitcoin between August 2014 and December 2015. Yet court documents show that one point, the defense argued that the allegation of unlawful money transmission wasn’t valid, given that Petix didn’t charge a fee for those transactions.

Petix was initially set to go on trial on 1st May. According to court documents, he will attend a sentencing hearing on 14th August.

Justice statue image via Shutterstock

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