Cryptocurrency Crime & Fraud Defense
- With the rise of Internet advances, the cryptocurrency is becoming the preferred method of online transactions due to its security, ease in trade, adaptability, and confidentiality.
- But while cryptocurrencies develop as the increasingly popular medium of exchange, the risk of fraud and other crimes associated with crypto assets has become a pivotal concern for federal law enforcement agencies.
- In 2018, an executive task force was created to ramp up efforts to investigate individuals and companies suspected of engaging in cryptocurrency fraud.
- Federal agencies have responded by coordinating investigation efforts with one another, which poses a significant risk to both individuals and companies who regularly use cryptocurrencies.
- Being sued or coming under investigation can be a worrisome time and risk substantial criminal penalties and jail time not to mention the cost and expense of a protracted government prosecution.
- Consider placing an experienced defense attorney on your side to handle your cryptocurrency crime defense.
Experienced Fraud Defense Team
If you have been charged or are being investigated in connection with a cryptocurrency crime, now is the time to hire a cryptocurrency fraud defense lawyer.
In 2018, President Trump signed an executive order that created a task force to focus on developing stringent cryptocurrency fraud investigations. Companies dealing with multiple forms of cryptocurrency are at risk more than ever.
You need a personalized defense strategy. Do not wait to take prompt action in your defense.
A charge against you has the power to shut down your company and irreparably damage your reputation. Do everything possible to defend your rights and career. We are here to help.
At Oberheiden, P.C., our attorneys are highly qualified in handling complex issues relating to cryptocurrency crimes. We are competent to defend you through every stage of the investigation and litigation process.
Our attorneys include former FBI agents, former U.S. attorneys, and former prosecutors. This inside perspective helps us understand what it takes to successfully defend your company.
While cryptocurrencies are a novel phenomenon, aggressive government prosecutions are not. Do not fall prey to a protracted government investigation. Put Oberheiden, P.C. on your side today to fight for your liberty and reputation.
What is a Cryptocurrency?
A cryptocurrency is a type of digital asset used to regulate units of assets and verify a transfer of assets. “Crypto” means secret or hidden. Therefore, cryptocurrencies utilize encryption techniques to regulate the flow of digital assets.
While there are many types of cryptocurrencies, the most well-known is the Bitcoin.
Payment via cryptocurrency is the preferred choice, especially among the young generation due to its anonymity and accessibility to everyone. Because they are dependent upon sophisticated algorithms and blockchains, cryptocurrencies are a secure means of asset transfer.
Therefore, companies have increasingly adopted the cryptocurrency as a payment method, which is overall a simple means of asset transfer.
Cryptocurrencies were largely unregulated prior to President Trump’s new executive order on creating a task force for investigating cryptocurrency frauds. Now there is an increase in federal government efforts and cooperation to prosecute companies suspected of engaging in fraudulent activities involving cryptocurrencies.
What are Cryptocurrency Crimes?
Cryptocurrency crimes are crimes committed with the use of a cryptocurrency or in the cryptocurrency sphere. They occur most often in connection with a company’s initial coin offering (ICO).
Cybercriminals most often resort to the Bitcoin for these crimes. Bitcoin is the most popular virtual asset of exchange and has increased in usage exponentially within the past few years. Using cryptocurrency is also much easier than laundering large amounts of cash.
Federal agencies have recently prosecuted companies for conducting their ICOs by utilizing fraudulent techniques. Companies have also been prosecuted for stealing money from people’s electronic wallets and from transacting or using unverified exchanges and questionable servers.
Common devices used to launder cryptocurrency include ATMs, gaming sites, prepaid cards, and unregulated exchanges.
Criminals engage in cryptocurrency fraud by first purchasing the crypto assets from online trading exchanges. The initial purchase of crypto assets is a legitimate transaction. They then use a type of anonymizing service to hide the blockchain as well as the fund’s source. This severs the connection between the crypto transactions. Now the crypto transaction can no longer be traced to the crime.
Often, because these transactions cannot be traced, criminals can easily make the crypto transactions appear as legitimate, legal income. In fact, federal agencies have a hard time finding an improper motive in such cases.
These crimes are nevertheless on the rise. Numbers estimate that losses from cryptocurrency crime were up about 160% compared to 2018’s losses of about $1.74 billion. Investor losses due to cryptocurrency fraud and misappropriation in 2019 increased five times.
In the following sections, we will briefly explain some common examples of cryptocurrency crimes, how a typical investigation proceeds, and what you can do to protect yourself.
Examples of Cryptocurrency Crimes
As mentioned, Bitcoin is the most common cryptocurrency used to commit cryptocurrency fraud. They are many ways and many forms that a Bitcoin transaction can be used to perpetrate a crime:
- laundering dirty money
- defrauding investors
- purchasing illicit goods
- demanding Bitcoin ransom payments
- procuring or threatening funding
- using ransomware software
- scamming victims
This list represents some examples of the types of charges that a federal investigator can bring against your company. This may seem dauting, but we are here to help. Call Oberheiden, P.C. today to start planning your defense.
How Cryptocurrency Crime Investigations Work
Cryptocurrency regulations are complicated. They have traditionally been an unregulated area. Anti-money laundering laws impose requirements for crypto assets but are also inconsistently regulated.
Nevertheless, enforcement efforts have increased over the past several years.
The DOJ is the agency responsible for investigation and charging companies in connection with cryptocurrency crime. It often organizes its enforcement efforts with other federal agencies and departments such as the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and the FBI.
This involves coordinated investigations and the sharing of uncovered information about your company.
In addition to prosecutions, the Office of Foreign Assets Control and DOJ could impose sanctions on companies engaged in cryptocurrency crime.
States also contain their own state regulations on cryptocurrencies and blockchains, which could involve additional penalties beyond the federal realm.
How to Respond If You’ve Been Charged/Arrested in Connection with Cryptocurrency Crime
A charge of cryptocurrency crime can result in substantial criminal penalties and jail time. An unsuccessful ruling could also impose permanent injunctions, disbarments, and disgorgement orders. Not to mention the needless time, expense, and host of other challenges for your business and personal life involved with an investigation.
The federal criminal process can be very lengthy, sometimes spanning months or years. You worked too hard to let your company go to waste because of over-zealous prosecutorial discretion.
Do not divulge any information to a federal agent without first discussing with your attorney and having your attorney present. Understand your rights and protect yourself. Get an attorney on your side to defend you.
The cryptocurrency crime defense attorneys at Oberheiden, P.C. have the experience needed to prepare your defense to fight these accusations.
If you are charged and need help defending your company in connection with a cryptocurrency allegation, call Oberheiden, P.C. today or contact our office for a free consultation.