WASHINGTON – The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security (ICE) agency arrested two Canadian brothers for illegal bitcoin money laundering and money transmission.
The two Canadian citizens are facing such charges for running an illegal money service called Payza. Payza is a payment processing firm that uses multiple currencies, including bitcoin, to settle their victims’ fees.
The company reportedly processed more than $250 million that they used for their schemes and other unlawful activities. The ICE agent, Patrick J. Lechleitner and US Lawyer Jessie K. Liu released this statement.
However, they are not the only ones facing such legal charges. Quebec residents and brothers, Fernan and Firoz Patel, are also charged with money laundering.
US Lawyer Liu says that the prosecution and arrest of these suspects prove that the government is enforcing laws vigorously to protect American customers.
Liu also reminded and warned the public about these types of businesses. The US attorney said that money transferring firms need to be listed federally and get permission in most jurisdiction and states in the DC.
Liu also added that consumers need to be aware of illegal money transfers because they could be used as a cover for the company’s illegal activities.
The Patel brothers may spend a maximum of over 25 years in prison if they are proven guilty. As for Payza, the company is currently facing one count of unauthorized money transmission.
The ICE announcement also mentioned that the Patel brothers received cease and desist orders from different states. A consultant also warned them that running an illegal money transmitting business was a crime.
The Patel brothers ignored these warnings and letters, so they continued their illegal schemes.
The report also noted that their clients joined different kinds of pyramid schemes. Their payments were apparently laundered through Patels’ opened bank accounts in the US. They used these accounts to transmit more than $250 million all over America.
All these funds and properties connected to these charges are now in the ICE’s custody. Further investigation regarding this case is also under its way.
The Patel brothers are also facing other lawsuits related to illegal money laundering and money transmission crimes.