A Westwood man has agreed to plead guilty to federal criminal charges for operating a crypto exchange with neither a license nor an effective anti-money laundering program. He exchanged up to $25 million in cash and crypto. 25-year-old Pleads Guilty to Running Unlicensed Bitcoin Exchange.
Kunal Kalra, 25, also known as “Kumar,” “shecklemayne,” and “coinman,” was indicted on four-counts. The criminal data was lodged at the U.S. District] Court. He is anticipated to appear in court next month.
The announcement revealed that Kalra operated his unlicensed crypto exchange business from May 2015 to October 2017.
In his plea agreement, Kalra confessed that he had exchanged Bitcoin for money from criminals. Also, including those who received Bitcoin from selling narcotics on the Darknet.
Kalra charged commissions for exchange of dollars with bitcoins. Thus, dealing only with high-volume customers willing to exchange at least a minimum of $5,000 per transaction.
He set up bank accounts in others’ names, including fake companies, which permitted him to hide his illicit company, the court papers state. Kalra also confessed to running an ATM kiosk where his clients could exchange Bitcoin for money and vice versa.
Law enforcement confiscated nearly $889,000 in money from the bank accounts and car of Kalra, as well as about 54.3 Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies. For these charges, the highest sentence Kalra could receive is life in federal jail.
In a similar case, Emilio Testa, age 32, an Australian residing in Colorado, will now be going to prison after being sentenced for money laundering with Bitcoin.