Former Bitcoin Foundation vice chairman Charlie Shrem has been indicted on charges stemming from alleged money laundering on the Silk Road, once of the largest illegal marketplaces online.
The indictment involving Shrem and Florida resident Robert Faiella indicates that the two had been conspiring together to funnel money into Silk Road since 2011.
Shrem, 24, was co-founder and an executive of bitcoin processor BitInstant. He is also accused of never filing a single suspicious activity report with the government during his time at the company.
According to the indictment, Shrem worked with Faiella to supply bitcoins to Silk Road users. Faiella, 52, who was known in Silk Road forums as “BTCKing”, allegedly used BitInstant in order to convert cash into BTC, which was the only payment method used on the online illicit marketplace.
BitInstant and Silk Road
BitInstant was one of the first companies that easily enabled bitcoin enthusiasts to procure BTC in the US. BitInstant users could go to a bank location or send cash directly, and BitInstant would convert it into bitcoin.
Shrem was also one of the founding members of advocacy group the Bitcoin Foundation, and subsequently stepped down from his vice chairman Foundation board post following his arrest.
The charges in the indictment involving Shrem and Faiella are two counts of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, one count of money laundering conspiracy and one count of willful failure to file a suspicious activity report.
Shrem is expected to be arraigned on April 29.
Charlie Shrem image via Bloomberg