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Los Angeles Woman Sentenced to Federal Prison for Laundering Money using Bitcoin

Los Angeles Woman Sentenced to Federal Prison for Laundering Money using Bitcoin

LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles woman who referred to herself as the “Bitcoin Maven” was sentenced to one year in Federal Prison as a result of laundering money using Bitcoin money.

Theresa Lynn Tetley, 50, of Los Angeles, pleaded guilty to one count of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business and one count of money laundering. Tetley was sentenced on Monday, July 9, 2018, to 12 months and one day in federal prison. In addition, Tetley will have three years of supervised release, and a fine of $20,000. She was also ordered to forfeit 40 Bitcoin, $292,264.00 in cash, and 25 assorted gold bars that were determined to be proceeds of the illegal activity.

The former stockbroker and real estate investor, according to court documents, offered bitcoin-for-cash exchange services without registering as a money services business with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), and without implementing anti-money-laundering mechanisms such as customer due diligence and reporting certain transactions required for these types of businesses.

Tetley advertised on localbitcoins.com and exchanged somewhere between $6 and $9.5 million for customers in the United States. She also charged higher rates for the exchanges than institutions properly registered with FinCEN. Tetley knowingly laundered funds from one person who is suspected of receiving bitcoin as payment for dark web drug sales. During the investigation, an undercover agent representing himself as a drug trafficker also successfully exchanged bitcoin for cash using Tetley’s services.

According to sentencing documents, the government argued that “[i]n light of the growth of the dark web and the use of digital currency, unlicensed exchangers provide an avenue of laundering for those who use digital currency for illicit purposes.” The government asserted that Tetley’s business “fueled a black-market financial system” that “purposely and deliberately existed outside of the regulated bank industry.”

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Staff Writer

This article was written by a staff member of the 24/7 Headline News Organization