Bitcoin Exchange Operator Indicted for Credit Union Capture

Stan Higgins
Dec 7, 2015 at 21:07 UTC

One of the operators of the now-defunct bitcoin exchange has been indicted for his alleged role in turning a New Jersey credit union into a conduit for illicit transactions.

In an indictment filed last week, US prosecutors said that Yuri Lebedev allegedly played a role in running, a Florida-based exchange that operated as a membership-style “Collectible’s Club” in an effort to skirt money transmission statutes.

As previously reported by CoinDesk, Lebedev and alleged co-conspirator Anthony Murgio were arrested in July. Prosecutors filed a superseding indictment against Murgio last month, alleging money laundering, wire fraud and bribery. Murgio later pleaded not guilty to the charges.

According to the government, is one part of a global cybercriminal scheme that involved the 2014 hack of JPMorgan & Chase and other financial institutions.

Lebedev was charged with one count of conspiracy to make corrupt payments with intent to influence an officer of a financial institution. Court documents allege that Lebedev was involved in email discussions related to taking over the credit union, and was appointed as an “advisory member of the board” for the institution.

On Friday, Lebedev pleaded not guilty in federal court, according to Reuters.

The indictment alleges that payments totalling roughly $247,000 were made between May and December 2014 to an undisclosed credit union executive. The money was sent by an individual who is not identified in the indictment, and two bank accounts were involved with the transactions.

In its original complaint filed against Lebedev in July, the government outlined a conversation involving the executive, Lebedev and the unnamed conspirator during which it was acknowledged that efforts were being made to avoid regulatory scrutiny into transactions for the bitcoin exchange.

The prosecution noted at the time:

“The Executive further acknowledged, in sum and substance, that with respect to such payment processing activity, the Credit Union had not performed appropriate Bank Secrecy Act procedures … and as a result, the Credit Union's account may have been used in furtherance of money laundering and other crimes.”

According to Reuters, the credit union involved was the Helping Other People Excel Federal Credit Union, based in Jackson, New Jersey. The credit union was officially liquidated on 20th November, according to the National Credit Union Administration, after being deemed insolvent with “no prospect for restoring viable operations”.

The full indictment can be found below:


Image via Shutterstock

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