The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has filed charges against six individuals for allegedly running a $30 million illicit money-transmitting enterprise utilizing cryptocurrencies. The accused, identified as Shaileshkumar Goyani, Brijeshkumar Patel, Hirenkumar Patel, Naineshkumar Patel, Nileshkumar Patel, and Raju Patel, are alleged to have operated without the necessary money transmitting license in the state of New York, as per court documents filed on Wednesday in the Southern District of New York.
According to an unsealed affidavit authored by an FBI agent, the illicit operation transpired between July 2021 and September 2023, during which the group employed the darknet to convert bitcoin and various other cryptocurrencies into physical cash.
Naineshkumar Patel, one of the accused, has been conditionally released by a U.S. Magistrate judge, according to official records. The filing also includes a statement from an unidentified co-conspirator, revealing that some clients of the operation were allegedly involved in the sale of narcotics, while the most affluent clients were purportedly linked to hacking activities. This co-conspirator disclosed to an undercover officer that he personally garnered an estimated $30 million over a span of three years through the exchange of cash for virtual currency.
In a significant turn of events, on February 7, 2023, law enforcement apprehended an individual who had been dispatching packages of cash on behalf of the anonymous co-conspirator from a post office located in Westchester County, New York. This individual, later identified as a confidential source, cooperated with authorities over the next eight months, assisting in around 80 controlled cash pick-ups amounting to approximately $15 million.
The accused individuals now face a legal battle, with the FBI’s charges underlining the increasing scrutiny and regulatory measures surrounding cryptocurrency transactions in the United States. The case is set to unfold in the coming months as the accused prepare their defense against the allegation.