Founder Of Bitcoin Fog Mixer Convicted Of Money Laundering

Roman Sterlingov, the founder of Bitcoin Fog, has been found guilty by a US court of several counts relating to money laundering. Sterlingov now faces a sentence of several decades.

Bitcoin Fog founder guilty of money laundering

This Tuesday, March 12, Roman Sterlingov, 35 years old, was found guilty by a U.S. district court of money laundering, operating an unlicensed money transfer business and violations of the DC Money Transfers Act. Throughout the trial, Sterlingov maintained his innocence, claiming to be a simple user of the service Bitcoin Fog and not its operator.

However, the evidence presented at the trial established that Sterlingov had played a central role in massive money laundering via Bitcoin Fog.

From October 2011 to April 2021, Bitcoin Fog would have facilitated the laundering of over 1.2 million bitcoins, worth approximately $400 million at the time of the transactions. The majority of these funds came from transactions linked to drug trafficking, computer fraud, identity theft and the distribution of child pornography. The service enabled criminals to conceal the origin of their earnings from law enforcement.

Sterlingov now at risk a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the most serious charges, including money laundering. He also faces sentences of up to 5 years’ imprisonment for the other charges.

Despite the fact that its lawyer Tok Ekeland announced that his team would appeal the verdict, final sentencing is scheduled for July 15.

In addition, the jury ordered the forfeiture of assets seized from Bitcoin Fog including 1,354 BTC held in a wallet linked to the service and nearly $350,000 in various cryptos from an account. Kraken.

Wider crackdown on crypto mixers

The sentencing of Roman Sterlingov is part of a wider effort by the US government to identify and prosecute individuals involved in illicit crypto activities. Roman Storm, the co-founder of the famous mixer Tornado Cash is another figurehead targeted by this crackdown.

Storm is due to stand trial in September on charges of conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transfer business and conspiracy to breach the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

For the US authorities, this verdict marks a victory in the fight against the illegal use of cryptocurrencies. However, for defenders of privacy in the crypto space, who see mixers as essential tools for preserving user privacy, this action is considered outright repression.