There have been a lot of news stories recently regarding the growing popularity
of digital currency. The technology has provided many companies an easier
way to transact business internationally. Law enforcement has also noticed
an increase in the number of transactions being conducted using this type
of technology, and is investigating some of the companies employing these
A recent 18-month investigation by the Department of Justice focused on
the actions of Liberty Reserve, a company based in Costa Rica. The owners
of the organization are alleged to have committed several
white collar crimes, including
money laundering, unlicensed money transferring and conspiracy.
The company is believed to have been a currency exchange for many criminal
enterprises, such as those engaged in computer hacking or the distribution of
child pornography. Officials estimate that nearly one million people used the company's
services, resulting in over $6 billion worth of money being laundered
across the world.
Individuals would establish an account with Liberty Reserve by providing
a name, email address and a birthday, but they did not have to prove any
of the information being provided. This meant that many of the users took
steps to conceal their identities.
Once the person had an account, he or she could buy credits from the company
and send them to others in different locations. Liberty Reserve used third
parties to complete these transactions. These third-parties would then
submit the transactions to Liberty Reserve for payment or credit.
Law enforcement officials say Liberty Reserve is just one of many companies
offering digital currency services to those looking to launder money.
After the company's assets were frozen, many individuals lost any
funds that they currently had tied up. Prosecutors have offered to refund
money to those engaged in legitimate activities.
These types of crimes will often be uncovered after extensive investigations
by many different law enforcement agencies. These agencies may bring individuals
in for questioning to learning more about the activities that are happening.
If you are contacted by the police, do not speak to them without having
an experienced criminal defense attorney present. An attorney can protect
your rights and make sure that you do not say anything that could potentially
be used against you at a later date.
If you have been charged with a white collar crime, you need to work with
someone that understands how these cases proceed. Because these cases
can be so complex, it is important that the attorney you select has handled
similar matters in the past. This can help you present an aggressive defense
to these accusations.