Unlicensed Cryptocurrency Broker Forfeits $1.1m in Cash and Bitcoin

Governments all over the world tend to scrutinize Bitcoin traders. One such individual in Vancouver has been sentenced to 20 days in a US Jail. The individual, known as Louis Ong, was arrested a few weeks ago. He acted as an unlicensed money transmitter and was eventually uncovered by federal agents.

Louis Ong had no other option but to plead guilty during his hearing. His business as a Bitcoin ‘broker’ eventually attracted the attention of law enforcement officials. After dealing with an undercover federal agent, he was eventually arrested and charged with running an unlicensed operation. Even after one agent stated how the money they were cleaning was from a drug deal, Ong converted their dollars to bitcoins regardless.

Another Bitcoin Trader Goes Awry

For Ong, plausible deniability is a major business mantra. He isn’t interested in where the money comes from, as he simply wants to run a Bitcoin brokerage service. Doing so without a license is a criminal offense, though. Anyone involved in buying or selling Bitcoin anonymously is a person of interest these days. Governments do not take kindly to this type of potentially nefarious activity.

The business model embraced by Ong made him a lot of money. Charging a 7.3% fee per conversion is quite steep. It is on par with most Bitcoin ATMs and far more expensive than using exchanges. However, Ong doesn’t verify user’s identities nor their source of money. As such, he is a liable “target’ for criminals looking to launder money.

Facilitating this type of operation is subject to severe punishment. A 20-day stint in jail is not all that severe, all things considered. On top of that, Ong also forfeits $1.1m in cash and Bitcoin holdings combined. It is unclear what will happen to the funds moving forward. Additionally, Ong received a three-year supervised release sentence and will not be able to return to the US in the future.

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