New Orleans Man Selling Bitcoin Charged with Operating Unlicensed Money Transmitting Business
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana
NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that MICHAEL YUSKO, III, age 46, a resident of New Orleans, was charged yesterday in a bill of information with operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1960.
Under federal law, any business that engages in “the acceptance of currency, funds, or other value that substitutes for currency from one person and the transmission of currency, funds, or other value that substitutes for currency to another location or person by any means” is deemed to be a money transmitting business. Such businesses include those that trade fiat currency, such as U.S. dollars, for cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum. These companies must register with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) as money transmitting businesses.
According to court documents, YUSKO was the owner and manager of Nervous Light Capital LLC. He used Nervous Light Capital, along with the bank accounts of four other companies, to sell Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to customers. YUSKO did not register any of these companies with FinCEN as money transmitting businesses, however. If convicted, YUSKO may receive a maximum of five years in prison, a maximum $250,000.00 fine, up to three years of supervised release, and a $100 mandatory special assessment.
U.S. Attorney Evans reiterated that a bill of information is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the FBI New Orleans Field Office and the U.S. Secret Service New Orleans Field Office. Assistant United States Attorney Matthew R. Payne is in charge of the prosecution.
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Updated June 24, 2021