Following past reports, one might easily say that money laundering is among the highest-reported crime cases involving digital currency. This is due to bad actors moving away from traditional payment methods, as those easily expose them to law enforcement agencies. Criminals now practice laundering through cryptocurrency as it helps them avoid being caught by authorities, at least to some degree.
Despite the cunning move to crypto assets, however, authorities can still arrest them to face due justice, as is the case in this story.
Six Men Charged Over Drug-related Money Laundering
The Department of Justice (DOJ) documents that it charged a group of people over money laundering. The defendants are namely Xizhi Li, Jianxing Chen, Jiayu Chen, Eric Yong Woo, Jingyuan Li, and Tao Liu. The DOJ filed the charges against them in the United States Eastern District Court of Virginia. These defendants worked as a single party, helping drug cartels in Mexico to cash out illegal profits.
They primarily operated their money laundering business via cryptocurrency, casinos, and fictituous business fronts. Additionally, the DOJ alleged that the defendant used domestic and foreign bank accounts to perpetuate the illegal act. In all, they laundered “millions” for the Mexican drug dealers through these channels. WhatsApp and WeChat are the most used medium of communication for the group.
The defendant discussed most of their money laundering activities through the mobile messaging apps, per DOJ. Furthermore, the Justice Department accuses one of the defendants “Tao Liu” of attempting to bribe government officials. Liu allegedly reached out to the DOJ official to make passports that will enable them to safely enter the country. He offered to pay in cryptocurrency and wire transfers in return.
The Usual End Spot For Criminals
The Justice Department unsealed a total of 14 charges against the six perpetrators. Charges include attempted identity fraud, bribery, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. “Superseding a previous indictment, the latest charges result from an investigation spanning nearly four years,” DOJ said.
The defendants are likely to face a minimum of 10 years in jail if found guilty. A maximum sentence of life imprisonment is equally possible.