Las Vegas Man Jailed for Operating Illegal Bitcoin Trading Business
Anthony J. Battaglia, a United States federal judge for the Southern District of California has sentenced Morgan Rockcoons, a Las Vegas, Nevada resident to nearly two years in prison for wire fraud and running an unlicensed money transmitting business, according to a press release on May 28, 2019.
End of the Road
According to a press release by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Morgan Rockcoons, a Nevada resident has been slapped with 21 months imprisonment for operating a Bitcoin trading business without registering with the relevant financial regulators.
Specifically, Rockcoons allegedly publicized his Bitcoin services on LocalBitcoins.com and in 2015, the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) identified him as the most highly productive seller in San Diego.
The 31-year-old’s profile on LocalBitcoins.com revealed that he served as a Bitcoin trader and seller in San Diego. As of 2016, he had made over 500 transactions and by October 2017, he had carried out over 1,000 transactions with 644 people, where a 36 percent fee was charged per trade.
However, Rockcoons was indicted on November 8, 2017, for running the unlicensed money transmitting business before he was arrested on that charge February 9, 2018. He was later released on bond pending trial.
Above the Law
Despite having issues with the law, the defendant in spring 2018 proceeded to create a fraudulent platform known as Bitcointopia. The platform was used to defraud people through the sale of a non-existent real estate in the desert of Elko County, Nevada.
Rockcoons purportedly promoted Bitcointopia on the internet and social media. On the website, he claimed that Bitcointopia was a place where bitcoin is a legal tender and that Bitcointopia, Inc. corporation owns parcels of land in the region.
The defendant also claimed that a prospective investor could buy around 500 to 1,000 Acre plots at 0.5 BTC per acre. However, those who had made a purchase were never given the title to the land and law officials have identified at least ten people who were scammed through Bitcointopia.
On March 7, 2019, Rockcoons pleaded guilty to the charges levied against him and Judge Battaglia has ordered him to forfeit $80,600 in illicit profits. He has been with been in custody since his arrest on October 29, 2018.
In related news, BTCManager informed that the U.S. Department of Justice in Oregon had indicted two Nigerians for allegedly being involved in a bitcoin scam scheme. On March 27, 2019, BTCManager also reported that a Staten Island man had been indicted for allegedly posing as a masked financial advisor.