Millennial Money

Bitcoin Fog coin mixer operator Roman Sterlingov found guilty in jury trial

Roman Sterlingov has been found guilty by a jury on all charges related to the Bitcoin Fog coin mixer, according to a US Department of Justice press release.

Sterlingov was charged with guilty of conspiracy, sting money laundering, operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business, and violations of the DC Money Transmitters Act. Together, the charges carry a maximum of 50 years in prison.

Bitcoin Fog was crypto mixer or tumbler that allowed users to hide their transaction trails on the blockchain. The service operated between October 2011 and April 2021 and moved more than 1.2 million BTC during its lifetime. The amount was worth more than $400 million at the time of the transactions but is worth over $85 billion at current prices.

Based on the government’s analysis of blockchain activity and records from crypto exchanges, Sterlingov received millions of dollars in commissions from operating the service.

Sterlingov plans to appeal

Separate accounts of the trial from Bloomberg described a partial focus on the service’s creation. Prosecutors explained how Sterlingov paid for Bitcoin Fog’s domain name and said he appeared to test the service with small transactions before it began to operate publicly.

Sterlingov denied that he operated the service in his testimony. He instead claimed that he created Bitcoin Fog’s domain name on behalf of a client while freelancing for a marketing and web firm. He admitted to using Bitcoin Fog but did not collect fees from the service.

His lawyer, Tom Ekeland, added that no eyewitness accounts or server logs provide evidence that his client operated the service.

Sterlingov and Ekeland plan to appeal the result. In a statement to Bloomberg, Ekeland called the verdict “disappointing” and described the current stage of proceedings as the “halfway point.”

In February, the case took a notable turn when prosecutors brought the previously convicted Bitfinex hacker Ilya Lichtenstein as a witness against Sterlingov. Lichtenstein testified that he did not know or communicate with Sterlingov directly and said he only minimally used Bitcoin Fog.

The post Bitcoin Fog coin mixer operator Roman Sterlingov found guilty in jury trial appeared first on CryptoSlate.

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