by Nuno Menezes
Three people from the Toledo area and one from Perrysburg, Ohio were indicted for creating fake IDs. With this indictment, prosecutors are now seeking to seize over 500 bitcoins valued at around $5.4 million from illegal profits.
Crime Is Crime, Even in Crypto
At this point, the four people are still not considered to be guilty as an indictment is only a charge rather than an outright criminal sentence. In this case, the accused are entitled to a fair trial, in which they are assigned a legal defense in a court of law.
As such, it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
According to U.S Attorney Justin E. Herdman, a federal grand jury issued a four-count indictment charging the defendants with the production of false identification documents, transfer of false identification documents, and possession of document-making implements and authentication features.
According to the United States Department of Justice, this case is the result of a partnership between the Lucas County Prosecutor’s Office and United States Attorney’s Office.
The four individuals charged in the indictment are Mark Alex Simon, 34, Aaron Kuns, 33, and Benjamin Stalets, 28, from Toledo and Sarah Alberts from Perrysburg.
It looks like the offenders created and transferred documents that replicated drivers’ licenses and personal identification cards issued by the states of Ohio, Michigan, and Utah. According to the accusation, these events took place between June 2013 and February 2018.
Apart more than 500 bitcoins with an estimated value of $5.1 million, as part of the investigation prosecutors have also seized approximately $8,603 in cash and gold and silver coins and bars with an approximate value of $265,299.
The court will determine the offender’s sentences after a close review of the unique factors to this case, including any prior criminal records, the defendant’s exact role in the offenses, and the characteristics of the violation.
In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum, and in most cases, it will be less than the maximum.
Bitcoin has been hovering around the $11,000 region after seemingly finding a new floor following the landslide in January 2018. If the persecutors get their hands on this batch of bitcoins, they might dump auction them on the market causing the price to plunge.