Crypto exchange owner gets 10 years in prison for aiding scammers

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The operator of a Bulgarian crypto exchange has received a 10-year prison sentence for money laundering in connection with an Eastern European cybercrime syndicate.

Rossen Iossifov, the convicted owner of the RG Coins crypto exchange platform has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for money laundering.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, a federal jury in Frankfort Kentucky found the Bulgarian national guilty of conspiracy to commit racketeering and money laundering back in Sep. 2020. The guilty verdict came after only a two-week trial period.

According to the United States Justice Department on Tuesday, Iossifov and other RG Coins principal actors participated in an elaborate money laundering conspiracy that defrauded at least 900 Americans to the tune of over $7 million.

As part of the scam, Iossifov and other co-conspirators would advertise on major auction channels like Craigslist and eBay for non-existent luxury items. The funds from this operation were routinely routed via crypto payments to criminal organizations.

The Justice Department communique also revealed that Iossifov laundered money for the AOAF, a known cybercrime syndicate based in Eastern Europe. In total, Iossifov reportedly allowed almost $5 million in dirty money to pass through the RG Coins platform in exchange for cryptocurrencies.

Despite assertions to the contrary, Iossifov’s RG Coins platform based in Bulgaria did not mandate any Know Your Customer compliance. The convicted Bulgarian also reportedly earned $184,000 from the proceeds of these money laundering transactions.

Of the 20 principal actors of the RG Coins money laundering scheme, 17 have so far been convicted. Iossifov’s prison term is the longest of the seven people sentenced thus far. Authorities are still on the hunt for the three fugitives still at large.

As a federal prisoner in the U.S., Iossifov will have to serve at least 85% of his 121-month prison sentence.

Iossifov is the latest crypto exchange operator to be jailed for money laundering. Back in December 2020, a French court sentenced Alexander Vinnik to five years imprisonment for his role in the BTC-e money laundering case.

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