New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s Office Seeks To Forfeit Assets Of Unlicensed Money Transmitter Trustcash
NEWARK, N.J. – The New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s Office today filed a civil asset forfeiture complaint seeking the forfeiture of hundreds of thousands of dollars held in bank accounts previously seized by special agents of the U.S. Secret Service from an Atlanta-based unlicensed money transmitting business, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
The complaint alleges that the assets are property involved in, or traceable to, deposits made into and through TCash Ads Inc. and its affiliate, Trustcash Holdings Inc. (“TCash”), in operating the illegal virtual currency service.
According to the complaint filed in Newark federal court:
TCash is an online payment processing service that enables individuals to anonymously purchase goods and virtual currency credits from entities who are registered with the service. Users can enter any number of national bank locations and deposit cash into a TCash account. TCash accounts can be used to pay any TCash-registered entity, including virtual currency exchanges and off-shore accounts in Canada, Cyprus, the Philippines, China, Nepal, Australia and elsewhere.
The service’s website offers deposit, charge, and mobile payment as methods to process payments, advertising that it is “a leader in payment processing, and offers a powerful suite of payment services…” The website also indicates that if a customer uses a credit card, it will be billed as “TCash Ads Inc,” and that the service has the ability to accept payments from credit cards, e-checks, online bank accounts and cash and to provide customer anonymity.
From as early as 2008 through 2012, TCash facilitated the transmission of millions of dollars, including transactions involving individuals in New Jersey.
Federal law requires every financial institution that operates as a money transmitting or service business (MTB) to be licensed in the state in which it is operating and to be registered with the Treasury Department through the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). TCash does not possess the appropriate license in any state in which it appears to operate – including New Jersey, Georgia, California, Texas, New York and Delaware – and is not registered with FinCEN.
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Civil forfeiture cases are “in rem” proceedings – meaning they are proceedings against things, not persons or entities who allegedly committed underlying unlawful acts. The law permits persons claiming an interest in the property an opportunity to appear and present their cases that they are innocent owners of the property and the property should not be forfeited.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the U.S. Secret Service, under the direction of James Mottola, Special Agent in Charge of the Newark Office, and support from FinCEN, a bureau within the U.S. Department of the Treasury, with the ongoing investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Evan S. Weitz of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Unit and Aaron Mendelsohn of the office’s Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.
Defense counsel: Douglas R. Jensen Esq., New York