25-Year-Old Bitcoin Seller Faces Life Sentence for Unlicensed Exchange

A man from Los Angeles agrees to plead guilty to charge for running an unlicensed crypto exchange without an effective AML program.

AccessTimeIconAug 26, 2019 at 6:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Dec 11, 2022 at 7:46 p.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global event for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

A 25-year-old man from Westwood, Los Angeles, has plead guilty to federal charges for having exchanged up to $25 million in cash and crypto without a license and anti-money laundering program.

Kunal Kalra, also known as "Kumar," “shecklemayne” and “coinman," was indicted on Friday for allegedly trading cash and crypto for individuals including drug dealers, partially via his bitcoin ATM kiosk.

An announcement from the U.S. Justice Department last Friday said Kalra, who is expected to make his first court appearance next month, has agreed to plead guilty to the charges.

The release alleges Kalra ran an unlicensed crypto exchange business from May 2015 through October 2017. He admitted in his plea deal for having exchanged bitcoin for cash from criminals including drug dealers who obtained the cryptocurrency from selling narcotics on the darknet.

The justice department went on to say that without implementing an anti-money laundering program, Kalra facilitated such type of transactions with a commission while knowing the proceeds came from drug trafficking.

As part of the investigation, the law enforcement seized about $889,000 in cash from Kalra and about 54.3 bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, worth more than half-million dollars. The announcement said the maximum penalty Kalra could face is to serve a life time behind bars.

Meanwhile, a 32-year-old Australian national living in the state of Colorado has been sentenced to one year in jail after being convicted for money laundering with bitcoin, based on a U.S. Justice Department release also on Friday.

The convict, named Emilio Testa, facilitated trades between bitcoin and cash with undercover agents while knowing the proceeds were part of narcotics trafficking.

Gavelhttps://www.shutterstock.com/imaage-photo/wooden-gavel-usa-dollar-on-desk-567887818?src=gZIinka0wXF4TQAWPvqQ0g-1-3 image via Shutterstock

Disclosure

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.


Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.



Read more about