May 28, 2024


The Legal System

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Feds Charge 21 People for Roles in Crypto Money Laundering

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas announced charges for 21 individuals for their roles in transnational money laundering networks on Wednesday.

U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston of the Eastern District of Texas and other law enforcement officials announced “Operation Crypto Runner,” an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation into transnational cryptocurrency money laundering networks that transfer fraud proceeds from victims in the United States to foreign criminal organizations.

“These defendants orchestrated highly organized and sophisticated schemes to launder fraud proceeds through cryptocurrency,” Featherston said in a statement. “Today’s announcement sends a clear message that money laundering networks that service fraud schemes targeting American victims, especially the elderly, will not be tolerated.”

According to law enforcement officials, over $300 million in annual money laundering transactions were disrupted, leading to seizures and forfeitures of millions in cash and cryptocurrency.

The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas shared cases of individuals who pleaded guilty to charges.

Zenobia Walker, 65, pled guilty to conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business and was sentenced to 18 months. In less than a year, Walker traded over $300,000 for cryptocurrency on behalf of her foreign co-conspirators.

Tulasidas Konda, 57, and Deependra Bhusal, 46, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. Konda laundered over $4 million in criminal proceeds in a multi-year conspiracy campaign. Bhusal laundered over $1.4 million in criminal proceeds.

The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas also shared summaries of cases for some individuals named in the indictments.

John Khuu, 27, was indicted and charged with a money laundering conspiracy. According to the indictment, Khuu allegedly to conspired with others to launder the proceeds of his drug trafficking organization through cryptocurrency. During the alleged plot, Khuu and his co-conspirators purportedly laundered over $5 million.

Randall V. Rule, 71, and Gregory C. Nysewander, 64, were indicted and charged with money laundering, money laundering and conspiracy to violate the Bank Secrecy Act. The two and their co-conspirators laundered over $2.4 million.

“Today’s announcement demonstrates the investigative capabilities of the Secret Service and highlights the success of our collaborative efforts through Operation Crypto Runner to dismantle and disrupt transnational money laundering networks,” said William Smarr, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service’s Dallas Field Office, in a statement.

“These arrests are just the beginning. We are committed to bringing each of the remaining perpetrators to justice.”