49-year-old peer-to-peer crypto trader Hugo Sergio Mejia has agreed to plead blame for money laundering and running a money transmission business without a license.
The US Attorney’s Office accuses Mejia of using a series of limited liability companies to hide the true nature of his operations while exchanging cash for Bitcoins over a period of more than two years.
The complaint accuses Mejia of transferring money between Bitcoin and US dollars worth at least $ 13 million for customers from May 2018 to September 2020 using his companies Worldwide Secure Communications, World Secure Data and The HODL Group.
Under the proposed settlement agreement, Mejia negotiated with a client who worked with law enforcement officials to exchange Bitcoin for tens of thousands of dollars in cash between May 2019 and March 2020.
Despite customer informing Mejia at a meeting in March 2020 that his main customer was an Australian methamphetamine buyer, Meija was willing to proceed with the transaction. According to the complaint, Mejia has executed transactions worth more than a quarter of a million dollars for the client:
Mejia and the law enforcement client conducted five Bitcoin cash transactions that totaled more than $ 250,000, the plea agreement states.
The customer has completed at least five transactions with a total value of more than $ 250,000.
As part of his plea deal, Mejia has agreed to forfeit nearly $ 234,000 in cash and about $ 95,500 in cryptocurrency and metals found in his California homes.
The deal also stipulates that from now on, Meija will “keep up to one virtual currency wallet, and that one wallet will be used for all personal transactions, limited to only using and owning open public blockchain virtual currency, and limited to using privacy-based blockchain virtual currency. “
Mejia was charged on Friday, Jan. 29 and is expected to plead guilty to one time money laundering and one time operating an unlicensed money exchange that he has not registered with the Treasury Department. Financial Crime Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
Mejia is expected to appear before a U.S. district court in March and face a maximum statutory sentence of 25 years behind bars in federal prison.