[UPDATE: Cointelegraph has learned that all charges against Wagner have been dropped as of July 13. A document filed by US Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado formally requested the District Court Judge handling the case, the Honorable William J. Martinez, to dismiss the case.]
Bitcoin trader Burton Wagner has been arrested and may face 5 years in prison for his money transmitting activities dating back to 2012.
The US Federal Prosecution accuses Wagner of operating without a money transmitting license in a state where such operation is punishable as a misdemeanor or felony. The Feds further allege that Wagner participated in the Pirate Pass-Through scam operated by the now-infamous Bitcoin Savings & Trust.
As they say in an indictment submitted to the Federal District Court of Colorado, Wagner was “in the transport and transmission of funds that were known to the defendant to have been derived from a criminal offense and were intended to be used to promote and support unlawful activity.”
The extent of Wagner involvement in the Bitcoin Savings & Trust Ponzi scheme has yet to be ascertained, while Silicon Angle reports that there is “ample evidence” that he was “pushing” the scheme in a senior investment capacity.
His activities date back to 2012, when an account allegedly linked to his identity, BurtW, seemingly caused suspicion among Bitcointalk users due to his involvement in certain schemes.
Wagner’s wife, Jean, has further taken to the internet in order to dispel myths purported by Silicon Angle and others surrounding her husband’s connection to Bruce Wagner, author of the blog Bitcoinme.com.
“Please stop confusing BurtW with Bruce Wagner. They are not the same person,” she wrote on a fundraiser set up to help with the costs surrounding the case, which she describes as “astronomical.”
Colorado has traditionally been fairly liberal towards cryptocurrency use. Since private use of cannabis is legal in the state, cannabis-oriented cryptocurrencies such as Potcoin and even Bitcoin cannabis vending machines can operate freely. However, in spite of being the first state to legalize recreational use and being among the 20 US states to legalize medicinal use, Colorado was not one of the 24 states to license Coinbase’s new exchange operation this month.
The case meanwhile continues and, if found guilty, Wagner faces a maximum five-year jail term. The prosecution has also requested a US$250,000 fine and seizure of his property.
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