king of cyber crime jailed for 20 years

 

The founder of a digital currency service that allegedly laundered hundreds of millions of dollars for criminals has been sentenced to 20 years in prison and also ordered to pay a fine of $500,000, by US District Judge Denise L. Cote. The District Judge said Arthur Budovsky 42-year-old , had not shown any sincere sign of remorse for the offence, for which he was arrested in Spain in May 2013, after acquiring Costa Rican nationality following the renouncing of his US citizenship in a  bid to avoid prosecution.  Prosecutors disclosed that the service enabled criminals to process and launder the proceeds of illegal activity.  Liberty Reserve was described by authorities as a “financial hub” for Ponzi scheme operators, identity thieves, hackers and credit card traffickers. In its eight years, it processed over 78 million financial transactions with a combined value of more than $8bn. It took a combined team of police and investigators from 17 countries to finally pull down the empire. The US Department of Justice said that at the tine it was shut down in 2013 it had over 5.5m user accounts, including more than 600,000 in the United States. He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to commit money laundering on 29 January, three days before his trial had been due to begin in New York. As part of a plea agreement, he confessed to laundering between $250m and $550m in criminal proceeds linked to Liberty Reserve accounts based in the US. Budovsky started his Costa Rica-based company, Liberty Reserve, in 2005, which enabled users register, using a name, email address, and date of birth, though it was purported that users’ identities were not properly checked. Once registered, individuals were able to transfer money to other users. Deposits were converted into Liberty Reserve Dollars or Liberty Reserve Euros, which were tied to ounces of gold or  the value of the euro and US dollar. Co-defendants Maxim Chukharev and Mark Marmilev, who also pleaded guilty, were sentenced to three and five years respectively, while two others will be sentenced later this month, and  another two remain at large

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