According to credit card records, patients visited Louisiana chiropractor Randall B. Lord’s offices for services like “mood counseling” and “chakra realignment.” But in reality, Lord hasn’t been licensed to practice in nearly a decade, and was actually using his credit card merchant accounts to sell hundreds of thousands of dollars in bitcoin, some of which went toward illicit purposes, federal prosecutors say.
Lord, along with his son Michael Aaron Lord, pleaded guilty in federal court last month to conspiring to operate an unlicensed money servicing business. According to an indictment filed in the case, Michael advertised “bitcoin services” on the website LocalBitcoins.com, a peer-to-peer marketplace that connects bitcoin users looking to buy and sell the digital currency both online and in person. And, prosecutors say, the two men accepted more than $3.5 million in cash, money orders, and MoneyPak prepaid cards in exchange for bitcoin they would purchase from online exchanges.
The case, one of a handful in recent years to bring charges for operating unlicensed bitcoin operations, highlights the vagaries involved in regulating the buying and selling of virtual currencies. In the U.S. and elsewhere, these transactions are subject to federal and local anti-money laundering laws, which require sellers