MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Miami Beach Police arrested two people allegedly involved in a money laundering scheme using BitCoins.
Police arrested Pascal Reid and Michel Abner Espinoza on Thursday on charges of money laundering.
In a release sent Thursday, police said the arrest of Reid and Espinoza may be the first state prosecutions involving the use of BitCoins in money laundering operations.
BitCoins are an electronic currency used for online payments. They eliminate any central financial authority or oversight. Buying BitCoins allows money to be anonymously moved around the world.Improperly used BitCoins can be used for laundering dirty money or for buying and selling illegal goods, such as drugs or stolen credit card information.
According to police, undercover officers and special agents from the Miami Electronic Crimes Task Force (MECTF) posed as Bitcoins buyers and contacted various individuals which had a high volume of BitCoin activity.The agents let them knowt hat they needed to move money to facilitate their criminal activities.
Reid and Espinoza allegedly offered to assist the agents in their transactions, for a fee. According to police it’s the classic definition of money laundering.
“All of us in law enforcement know that criminals are always seeking new ways to make their activities profitable,” commented State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. “BitCoins are just a new tool in the cyber criminal’s toolkit.”