Final BitMEX Co-Founder Pleads Guilty to US Violations

Samuel Reed will pay a $10 million fine for violating anti-money laundering rules.

AccessTimeIconMar 9, 2022 at 5:14 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 4:43 p.m. UTC

The third founder of cryptocurrency exchange BitMEX pled guilty in a federal court on Wednesday to violating U.S. anti-money laundering (AML) rules, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Samuel Reed pled guilty in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York to violating the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) by “willfully failing to establish, implement and maintain” an anti-money laundering program at BitMEX.

Under the plea agreement, Reed will pay a $10 million fine. The charge also carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, according to the Department of Justice. Reed’s sentence will be decided by a federal judge.

Reed is the third and final BitMEX co-founder to plead guilty to the same offense, following the pleas of Arthur Hayes and Benjamin Delo in February.

“As today’s guilty plea reflects, this Office will not permit cryptocurrency exchanges to operate as a shadow financial system that enables criminal actors to move their illicit proceeds without detection, and will vigorously investigate and prosecute the operators of such exchanges who deliberately flout U.S. law,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams in a statement.

The DOJ and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) each brought federal charges against BitMEX and its founders in October 2020, with the CFTC settling its case last year.

BitMEX was accused of setting up offshore operations to evade U.S. AML regulations while still allowing U.S. customers to transact on the platform.


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Brandy Betz

Brandy covered crypto-related venture capital deals for CoinDesk.

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