In what is a landmark ruling that could have great implications in the future for crypto, a New York court has sentenced former BitMEX CEO Arthur Hayes to six months probation for violating the Bank Secrecy Act.
Hayes was sentenced at the District Court for the Southern District of New York on Friday. In addition to the home detention, the 36-year-old Miami native also got two years of probation.
As CNF reported, Hayes pleaded guilty to violating the BSA while at the helm of BitMEX, which was at the time one of the largest exchanges in the world. He was accused of allowing illicit actors such as money launderers and terrorism funders to use BitMEX to transact. He also claimed to have barred US users, but this was a sham as they could still access the platform, prosecutors claimed.
At the sentencing, Hayes told Judge John Koeltl that he was remorseful and apologetic for all he had done and that he was taking full responsibility for how BitMEX was run while he was the CEO.
I deeply regret that I had a part in this criminal activity. My best years are ahead of me. … I am ready to turn the page and start again. I ask that you allow me to return home, deeply remorseful and able to start the next chapter of my life.
Judge Koeltl handed him six months of detention, but after this, he will be able to travel around the world once again, while ensuring he keeps in touch with his probation officer. Hayes has long been living in Singapore and most of his family, some of whom turned up for the hearing, reside there as well.
Hayes has Judge Koeltl to thank for not spending time behind bars. As some reports have revealed. prosecutors had recommended that he be sentenced to more than the 12 months that his plea deal stipulated. They wanted him to be a message to other crypto offenders that the government means business. However, Judge Koeltl ruled that he would treat Hayes as an individual and he would not condemn him for the sins of the others.
During his detention and probation, Hayes will be allowed communication with Sam Reed and Ben Delo, the other two BitMEX cofounders who have also pleaded guilty to violating the BSA. The ruling by Judge Koeltl goes against the law which bars convicted felons on probation from communicating with other known felons.