Miami/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on April 03, 2024
Miami Man Sentenced to 57 Months for Operating Illegal Crypto ExchangeSource: Unsplash/ Matthew Ansley

A Miami man has been slapped with a nearly five-year prison sentence for running a high-volume illegal cryptocurrency exchange. Raul Rodriguez, 44, better known in online circles as raultiovigia, was hit with 57 months in federal clink for operating an unlicensed money transmitting business and dealing primarily with shady characters like drug traffickers and launderers.

From his Florida base, Rodriguez swapped cold hard cash with Bitcoin and other digital currencies on the exchange platform, moving at least $5 million in digital currency transactions in the six-year period from 2016 through 2022. According to a Justice Department release, during the first two years of this exchange bonanza, he was the top dog in Florida's platform trading.

Rodriguez ignored clear regs from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network that, since 2013, required crypto exchangers to sing up with Uncle Sam as a money transmitting business. His stint as an improvised financial guru has earned him an extra three years of supervised release and a roughly equal-dollar forfeiture money judgment as a cherry on top: $5,047,462.

Getting to the heart of the operation, Rodriguez was overseen by U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe and IRS-CI bigwig Matthew D. Line announced the sentencing, while IRS-CI Miami, FBI, and DEA got their hands dirty with the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Browne dealt with the prosecution and Emily Stone swept the asset forfeiture into the corrals of justice.

Interested parties can sift through the related documents and other legalese found on the Southern District of Florida's court website, or tap into the case number 23-cr-20474 on the PACER system.

Miami-Crime & Emergencies