Six Charged with Crimes Related to Virtual Currency Exchange Business
CONCORD: Six individuals were indicted by a federal grand jury in New Hampshire and charged with participating in a conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business and other offenses, Acting United States Attorney John J. Farley announced today. Those charged in the indictment are:
Ian Freeman (formerly Ian Bernard), 40, of Keene
Colleen Fordham, 60, of Alstead
Renee Spinella, 23, of Derry
Andrew Spinella, 35, of Derry
Nobody (formerly Richard Paul), 52, of Keene
Aria DiMezzo (formerly James Baker), 34, of Keene
Freeman, Fordham, Renee Spinella, Andrew Spinella, and Nobody also are charged with wire fraud and participating in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Ian Freeman is charged with money laundering and operating a continuing financial crimes enterprise. Freeman and DiMezzo also are charged with operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.
According to the indictment, since 2016, the defendants have operated a business that enabled customers to exchange over ten million dollars in fiat currency for virtual currency, charging a fee for their service. They operated their virtual currency exchange business using websites, as well as operating virtual currency ATM machines in New Hampshire. The indictment alleges that the defendants knowingly operated the virtual currency exchange business in violation of federal anti-money laundering laws and regulations. In furtherance of their scheme, the indictment alleges that some defendants opened bank accounts in the names of purported religious entities. According to the indictment, some defendants then engaged in substantial efforts to evade detection of their unlawful virtual currency exchange scheme by avoiding answering financial institutions’ questions about the nature of the business and misleading financial institutions into believing their unlawful virtual currency exchange business was instead a religious organization receiving charitable contributions.
All of the defendants were arrested during a coordinated law enforcement action on Tuesday. They are scheduled for initial appearances before a United States Magistrate Judge on Tuesday afternoon.
This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, and the United States Postal Inspection Service in coordination with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Georgiana L. MacDonald and Seth R. Aframe.
The charges in the indictment are only allegations. The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.