Former Shreveport chiropractor, son sentenced for operating illegal bitcoin exchange business
SHREVEPORT, La. – Acting U.S. Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook announced that a former Shreveport chiropractor and his son were sentenced Wednesday for funneling money through an unlawful bitcoin financial scheme.
Randall Bryan Lord, 59, and his son, Michael Aaron Lord, 30, both of Shreveport, were sentenced to 46 months and 106 months in prison respectively by U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. They were also sentenced to one year and three years of supervised release respectively. The defendants pleaded guilty April 13, 2016 to one count of conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money servicing business. In addition, Michael Lord pleaded guilty to one count of drug conspiracy for agreeing to distribute controlled dangerous substances to include alprazolam, a Schedule IV controlled substance. According to the guilty pleas, from at least 2013 to 2015, the defendants were accepting currency, money orders and money paks and exchanging those funds for bitcoin, a decentralized form of electronic or digital currency, existing entirely on the Internet and not in any physical form. Contrary to law, the Lords were not registered with FinCEN. The Lords also failed to report the receipt of more than $31,000 in U.S. currency. Also, beginning in March 2015, Michael Lord was involved in a drug conspiracy to distribute alprazolam, 5F-AB-Pinaca (a synthetic cannabinoid) and other controlled substances.
“This investigation represents cutting edge criminal activity,” Jerome R. McDuffie, Special Agent in Charge for the New Orleans Field Office of IRS – Criminal Investigation. “The ‘dark web’ was used to facilitate monetary transactions in a drug distribution network. Cybercrime is an emerging area of criminal activity, and we want the criminals who hide behind logon names and internet aliases to know that IRS Special Agents will follow the money in whatever form, whether it be digital or paper currency. We will follow the trail right back to their doorstep and will work diligently to hold the responsible individuals accountable.”
“HSI is committed to dismantling and disrupting the flow of illegal drugs and money into our country,” said Special Agent in Charge of HSI New Orleans Raymond R. Parmer Jr. “HSI-Shreveport will continue working with our local, state and federal partners to ensure we are making every effort to keep drugs off our streets.”
The IRS-Criminal Investigation, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations, FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Springhill Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cytheria D. Jernigan prosecuted the case.