More Charges Filed Against Trader Who Used Bitcoin to Conceal Fraud

A Philadelphia day trader was formally indicted for money laundering using bitcoin, among other crimes.

AccessTimeIconNov 9, 2017 at 11:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:08 a.m. UTC

New charges have been filed against a Philadelphia-based day trader accused of manipulating a series of online brokerage accounts and using bitcoin to hide the source of his profits.

Joseph Willner has been charged with multiple offensives, including those related to computer intrusions and securities fraud. Willner, as previously reported by CoinDesk, was accused this month by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission of breaking into victims’ digital brokerage accounts and conducting a series of short sales designed to generate some $2 million in revenue.

More than 50 trading accounts were targeted during the alleged scheme, prosecutors have said.

When the SEC pressed charges, they alleged that Willner made some $700,000 in profits – an amount obscured through the use of the cryptocurrency, which was sent to an unnamed partner. The SEC's lawsuit is distinct from the indictment pursued by the Justice Department.

Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget Rhode said in a statement:

"Cybercriminals continue to come up with innovative ways to steal money from victims using the Internet, as in this case where defendant Willner’s co-conspirators allegedly hacked into the victims’ accounts in order to execute fraudulent short sales."

Willner faces a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted.

Lady Justice image via Shutterstock


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.