FTX Founder SBF Arrested for Fraud & Money Laundering!

Crypto Crashes into the Christmas Season Like Avalanche

Is it ironic that crypto is crashing Christmas? I think so, considering that cryptocurrency was supposed to be like Santa; a savior for the forgotten and maligned. Instead it turned itself into a pump and dump scheme on a scale that has SEC and Wall Street veterans shaking their heads in disgust, jealousy and a tad of melancholy that the decentralized currency experiment might not survive the first quarter of 2023. The rumors might be coming true!

Crypto’s Lack of Compliance Puts FOMO into Further Perspective

Sergei Potapenko and Ivan Turogin, each 37 years old, were arrested in Estonia last week and are being extradited to the United States to face charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. This case sort of hits close to home as I reside in the Pacific Northwest and the indictment for the crooks was unsealed in a US District Court in Seattle. In addition, a handful of victims of the pair’s crypto-based scheme are residents of western Washington.

Perspective is a powerful thing. It prevents us from making or repeating critical life errors, or it gives us an infusion of empathy when, for example, you realize that the person who stole your parking space at the grocery store was on their way home from a chemotherapy session.

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Did the FTX meltdown expose crypto as a pump & dump fueled by FOMO?

FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried has had a horrible November and it just keeps getting worse. Last Tuesday news broke that Bankman-Fried is being sued by his investors for $11 billion (USD) in the U.S. District Court in Miami, along with those that promoted the FTX brand. That list includes a number of high profile celebrities and athletes, including Tom Brady, Larry David, Shaquille O’Neal and Stephen Curry (no!), among others. The proposed class action, which was filed yesterday afternoon, accuses the laundry list of wealthy defendants of promoting unregistered securities, a violation of Florida’s Securities and Investor Protection Act and the Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

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FATF Angers Crypto Industry in its Fight Against Money Laundering

Al Jazeera broke a news story the other day claiming that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is, “planning to ramp up oversight of crypto providers,” in relation to its homegrown ‘Grey List’. The Grey List list is a compilation of countries that are ripe for money laundering and other forms of financial fraud, simply because of corruption and because these countries have few anti-money laundering (AML) regulations in place, especially where crypto is concerned, and therefore zero compliance. The Al Jazeera article apparently created a shock wave in the world of decentralized finance (DeFi) with this announcement, causing Coindesk to slyly accuse the FATF of changing the way it monitors digital assets mid-stream, which it denies.

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Hong Kong Duo Caught Laundering $446 Million via Precious Metals

Last week a pair of crooks in Hong Kong were busted laundering $446 million in illicit funds via precious metals, in this case gold and palladium. Though it is not a record amount, the method for actually laundering the money does sort of set a standard for using old world tactics (the precious metals market has existed for decades), combined with digital tactics, and then foisted upon a market where the definition of heavy metals has changed along with the evolution of technology, putting more value on palladium than you might expect. In fact, palladium is more expensive than gold right now. You could say the duo failed, but they did manage to launder almost half a billion dollars before being caught.

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Paris’ Dream to Be the Next ‘Crypto-Haven’ Crippled by Money Laundering

Come to Paris, the most recent entrant in the competition to become a haven to pursue crypto dreams! The city of love is now advertising itself as the latest, and no doubt the coolest, place to live a relaxed Bitcoin lifestyle or to lead a crypto company. French President Emmanuel Macron and his administration have been vocal in wanting to recruit more tech talent and investment related to decentralized finance (DeFi), cryptocurrency, the metaverse and meta-collectibles.

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Man Caught Swiping $23 Million in Crypto Faces No Criminal Charges

Accountability goes south when a perp gets props from the mark

Accountability for wrongdoing in America is in poor supply these days, regardless of where you look. From politics to entertainment and sports, and even in our own communities, people are committing crimes and violating social norms at will and without what used to be standard repercussions. For example, if you follow the world of decentralized finance (DeFi), you are hearing and reading about an ever increasing number of DeFi-focused crimes that are often worth hundreds of millions of USD. The media does a good job of reporting these crimes, but doesn’t seem as keen to report the arrests related to them.

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Who Introduced the Cartels to the Golden Age of Money Laundering?

Innovation and gangsters seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly these days, but what if that sentiment is just an illusion, over-reported by the media? Each week it seems the media reports a new, high USD crypto theft and, in some cases, money laundering bust from the cryptocurrency, DeFi and NFT world, with the top end of these heists nearing the billion dollar mark. Governments around the world are calling for regulation and centralization of DeFi as a result, but did you know that the most powerful money laundering system in the world today is not related to crypto or DeFi., and it originates from the country that banned everything crypto at this time last year — China.

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European Cartel Busted Laundering Cash via Ancient Silk Road

One of the world’s largest criminal organizations is an old Irish band of gangsters known as the Kinahan Clan to some, the Kinahan Cartel to others and the Kinahan Organized Crime Group to those who want to prosecute them. The Kinahan Clan was founded by notorious drug dealer, money launderer and all around bad guy, Christy ‘the dapper Don’ Kinahan in the 1980s. He has since handed the reins to his son, Daniel Kinahan, who acts like your average, modern day cartel in that he runs a multinational drug operation that partners with other known Cartels from other countries in order to funnel up to a third of the cocaine into Europe.

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New DeFi Crypto Crimes & Exploits

Writing about the emerging world of decentralized finance (DeFi), with a focus on money laundering and fraud, is sort of like trick or treating. Each house (or in my case each passing week) offers more candy, or in my case news related to my chosen beat. Each week the DeFi market news reveals increasing levels of financial thuggery related to the millions of dollars (USD) worth of crypto assets being stolen from crypto exchanges, and the myriad rug pulls that are taking place in the NFT world. Because of this revolving door of financial thuggery, money laundering activity has skyrocketed in the last few years.

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