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Prosecutors say Keene man used crypto business to cater to criminals


Prosecutors said a Keene, New Hampshire, man used a cryptocurrency exchange to break the law, but the defense is denying the charges.Ian Freeman is charged with tax evasion and money laundering. In federal court on Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office presented its overview of the case and why prosecutors believe Freeman is guilty of several financial crimes.The prosecution said Freeman operated his bitcoin business at local kiosks, online and through a messaging app. His “golden rule” to clients was, “What you do with your bitcoin is your business. Don’t tell me,” prosecutors said.The prosecution said this philosophy allowed Freeman’s business to cater to criminals across the world, saying most of his clients were “romance scammers,” in which the scammer forms an online relationship with the victim, telling the victim they love them and asking for money.Some of those victims are scheduled to be witnesses at the trial.Prosecutors said Freeman would get a wire transfer from the victims, take a cut and then send the rest to clients in bitcoin. The prosecution said one of Freeman’s challenges was having his bank accounts closed because of suspicious transactions. So, he hired a team to open new accounts, prosecutors said. Prosecutors said accounts would be opened in the names of religious organizations, mostly churches, but never disclosed to the banks the churches would be involved with bitcoin.The prosecution said Freeman would send specific rules on how to send the money, such as adding that the transfers were “church donations,” to avoid red flags at the banks.The defense and supporters of Freeman said none of it is true, saying that Freeman was not a scammer. They said the churches are real and give back to the community in several ways.Prosecutors also said Freeman’s business didn’t follow money-transmitting business regulations and that he didn’t pay taxes from 2016-19.The defense said the trial could last up to three weeks.

Prosecutors said a Keene, New Hampshire, man used a cryptocurrency exchange to break the law, but the defense is denying the charges.

Ian Freeman is charged with tax evasion and money laundering.

In federal court on Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office presented its overview of the case and why prosecutors believe Freeman is guilty of several financial crimes.

The prosecution said Freeman operated his bitcoin business at local kiosks, online and through a messaging app. His “golden rule” to clients was, “What you do with your bitcoin is your business. Don’t tell me,” prosecutors said.

The prosecution said this philosophy allowed Freeman’s business to cater to criminals across the world, saying most of his clients were “romance scammers,” in which the scammer forms an online relationship with the victim, telling the victim they love them and asking for money.

Some of those victims are scheduled to be witnesses at the trial.

Prosecutors said Freeman would get a wire transfer from the victims, take a cut and then send the rest to clients in bitcoin.

The prosecution said one of Freeman’s challenges was having his bank accounts closed because of suspicious transactions. So, he hired a team to open new accounts, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said accounts would be opened in the names of religious organizations, mostly churches, but never disclosed to the banks the churches would be involved with bitcoin.

The prosecution said Freeman would send specific rules on how to send the money, such as adding that the transfers were “church donations,” to avoid red flags at the banks.

The defense and supporters of Freeman said none of it is true, saying that Freeman was not a scammer. They said the churches are real and give back to the community in several ways.

Prosecutors also said Freeman’s business didn’t follow money-transmitting business regulations and that he didn’t pay taxes from 2016-19.

The defense said the trial could last up to three weeks.



Read More: Prosecutors say Keene man used crypto business to cater to criminals

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