The head of a New Jersey credit union has been accused of turning control of his bank over to the operators of an alleged illegal Bitcoin exchange.
On Thursday, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) charged Trevon Gross, the once-chairman of the HOPE Credit Union, with taking a $150,000 bribe from the operators of the coin.mx Bitcoin exchange. He then allowed coin.mx to use the credit union to facilitate illegal transactions, it is claimed.
The charges are related to the 2015 FBI takedown of coin.mx and the charges brought against operators Anthony Murgio and Yuri Lebedev for allegedly operating the site as an unlicensed currency exchange.
According to the FBI, Murgio and Lebedev knowingly performed illegal Bitcoin-to-cash transactions, including ransomware payments, for customers while hiding the payments from authorities and banks by disguising the payments and payouts as part of a “collectable memorabilia” exchange.
In order to further conceal the nature of the exchange, the DOJ charges that Murgio and Lebedev paid Gross a total of $150,000 for spots on the HOPE board of directors.
Once given control over the credit union’s affairs, the coin.mx operators used the credit union to host their accounts and facilitate the illegal exchange operation, it