ICE Agency Charges Two Canadians and Payza with BTC Money LaunderingMarch 25, 2018
The U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has this week revealed that its Homeland Security agency is charging Payza and two Canadian brothers with illegal money transmissions and money-laundering charges tied to cryptocurrency transactions.
The ICE released a press statement saying that the two brothers and Payza are facing prosecution for allegedly laundering money and running unlicensed money transmission services. Payza is a company that processes payments using various currencies and bitcoin for its daily settlement operations.According to the press release, Payza processed more than $250 million worth of proceeds from various criminal activities including Ponzi schemes. This ICE announcement was made by Jessie K. Liu, a U.S Attorney and Patrick J. Leichleitner, ICE special agent. The two Canadian brothers facing prosecution along with Payza are Ferhan Patel, 37, and Firoz Patel, 43, both residents of Montreal, Quebec.
U.S Attorney Liu explained that “the indictments and arrests, in this case, have demonstrated that we’ll enforce laws vigorously to protect American consumers,” adding that, “businesses transmitting money require federal registration and licensure in most states and also jurisdictions, which includes the District of Columbia. All consumers need to be aware of the businesses that don’t follow the law because they may be acting as some cover for other illicit activities.”
Illegal money transmissions started 2012
The two Canadian brothers are facing conspiracy charges which consist of violating the anti-money laundering requirements and operating a money transmitting business without the required license from a relevant authority. The bothers face a sentence of not less than 25 years each if the prosecution proves its case. Payza and MH Pillars Ltd. (Payza’s parent company) are facing one count; illegal money transmission.
The charges allege that the Patel brothers and Payza have participated in the said illegal business operations and criminal activities since March 2012 until now. Homeland Security asserts that Firoz and Ferhan Patel knowingly transmitted money that was tied to criminal activities through Payza’s services.
The Patel brothers continued with illegal operations even after several warnings
In the press release, the Immigration Customs Enforcement agency details that both brothers could not stop their illegal activities even after being severally warned by various authorities. “Despite receiving various Cease-and-Desist letters from different states, and also being told that running money transmission business activities without being properly licensed was a crime, Ferhan and Firoz Patel continued the illegal activities.”
The indictment also alleges that the Patel brothers, alongside other co-conspirators, are also responsible for transmitting more than $250 million across the U.S and elsewhere.
According to the ICE report, Payza’s clients participated in various types of suspicious pyramid schemes, and the Patels allegedly opened U.S bank accounts through which they laundered illegal proceeds. Homeland Security has reportedly seized funds and properties tethered to these charges. The ICE has also already confiscated about $10 million and says that the investigations are still underway. The Canadian brothers’ case comes barely days after Americans faced charges for unlicensed money transmission, money laundering, among other criminal activities.