Benjamin James Cance, who has been charged for shipping illegal arms, possession of an unregistered weapon, and money laundering, allegedly used bitcoin to facilitate transactions. Bitcoin payments are typically untraceable, as the verification process is done by a network of computers solving complex algorithms to update the distributed public ledger called blockchain.
This isn’t the first time that the cryptocurrency has been involved in illegal dealings, as it has been the currency of choice in the now-defunct Silk Road or underground marketplace in the Dark Net.
Bitcoin for Illegal Weapons
Cance appeared before Magistrate Judge Phillip Green this week and pleaded not guilty. He is currently out on a $10,000 bond and is awaiting trial, although no official schedule has been set yet.
If convicted, Cance could face up to 20 years in prison for international arms shipment. In addition, the maximum penalty for illegal possession of a machine gun and money laundering is 10 years. The Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Internal Revenue Service, the US Postal Inspection Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are all working in their investigation of the case.
According to United States Attorney Patrick Miles, Cance is accused of