A Florida man charged with conspiring to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business has been released on a $75,000 bond following an appearance in a Manhattan court, according to Reuters. Prosecutors say the man, Ricardo Hill, 38, is the latest individual facing charges in connection with an illegal bitcoin exchange called Coin.mx owned by an Israeli accused of hacking JPMorgan Chase Co. and other companies.
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Nine people including Hill face charges following an investigation related to a data breach that involved more than 83 million accounts. JPMorgan disclosed the breach in 2014.
The Coin.mx case has attracted a lot of attention because it caused a federal judge to rule on whether or not bitcoin is money. The judge ruled bitcoin is money.
A Key Role With Coin.mx
Hill, according to documents, was employed as a business development consultant and finance support manager for Coin.mx. Coin.mx, according to prosecutors, was operated by Anthony Murgio of Florida and owned by Gery Shalon, an Israeli who authorities claim operated a massive hacking scheme against JPMorgan and other companies.
Shalon, along with another Israeli, Ziv Orenstein, and Samuel Aaron, an American, allegedly hacked into networks of a dozen firms and stole the personal information of more than 100 million customers, prosecutors claim.
Murgio and Hill were not accused with the hacking charges, but prosecutors said they committed crimes linked to Coin.mix, which exchanged millions of dollars in bitcoin.
The New York Times reported last year that Anthony Murgio and Yuri Lebedev, along with three others, were most likely behind the JP Morgan hack.
Late last month, Anthony Murgio’s father, Mike Murgio, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of obstructing the examination of a financial situation, which could mean up to five years in prison when he is sentenced in January.
Bitcoin Transactions Connected To Ransomware
Hill, according to the complaint, profited along with others from bitcoin transactions on behalf of ransomware victims.
Two individuals have pleaded guilty in the Coin.mx case, while Anthony Murgio and two other men pleaded not guilty and are expected to face trial in late February.
Orenstein and Shalon pleaded not guilty after being extradited from Israel in June. Aaron is in Russia.
Case Focused Attention On Bitcoin’s Status As Money
Anthony Murgio argued that bitcoin is not money, therefore his Coin.mx activities did not constitute a violation of operating an unlicensed money operation. U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan rejected Murgio’s claim.
A judge in another case ruled differently on whether bitcoin is money. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Teresa Pooler, in presiding over an unrelated money laundering case, claimed the defendant did not violate anti-money laundering laws for his part in a bitcoin transaction.
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