One of the operators of the now-defunct bitcoin exchange has been sentenced to 16 months in prison.

According to a Reuters report, Florida-based software engineer Yuri Lebedev had been found guilty of helping run the unlicensed bitcoin exchange. His sentencing – handed down by U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan – came more than two years after he was initially arrested and charged with violating U.S. money laundering statutes.

Along with Lebedev, Pastor Trevon Gross was convicted in March, though in the case of Gross, he was charged with bribery in connection with a now-shuttered New Jersey credit union that was allegedly used to channel funds from overseas.

According to the prosecutors in the case, Lebedev helped arrange bribes to Gross, including $150,000 in donations to his church. Gross is expected to be sentenced later this month.

Bloomberg reports that Judge Nathan said Lebedev used his "impressive technology skills" in order to avoid detection. Lebedev's attorney, Eric Creizman, described him in court as an "unlikely criminal defendant."

The Florida-based bitcoin exchange was operated as a so-called "Collectibles Club" in order to obscure its exchange activities. Prosecutors had previously tied the exchange to a broader cybercrime enterprise, arguing that served as as a clearing house for funds derived from various criminal activities including a hack on JPMorgan Chase.

Another operator, Anthony Murgio, was arrested and charged, along with Lebedev, in 2015. Murgio pled guilty earlier this year on three charges, including one count of wilfull failure to file a suspicious activity report, and was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison in June.

Man in Jail image via Shutterstock


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