Father and son imprisoned for operating fraudulent Bitcoin exchange.
Randall Bryan Lord and his son, Michael Aaron Lord, accepted currency, money orders, and money packs in exchange for bitcoins. Bitcoin is a decentralized form of electronic or digital currency, existing entirely on the Internet. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have no physical form.
Contrary to law, the Lords were not registered with FinCEN. The Lords also failed to report the receipt of more than $31,000 in U.S. currency. Further to this, from March 2015 onwards, Michael Lord was involved in a conspiracy to distribute the drugs alprazolam and 5F-AB-Pinaca (a synthetic cannabinoid), along with other controlled substances.
Jerome R. McDuffie, Special Agent in Charge for the New Orleans Field Office of IRS – Criminal Investigation stated that “this investigation represents cutting-edge criminal activity”. In this case, the ‘dark web’ was used to facilitate financial transactions within a drug distribution network.
Cybercrime is a growing area of criminal activity. Special Agent McDuffie said, “we want the criminals who hide behind logon names and internet aliases to know that IRS Special Agents will follow the money in whatever form, whether it be digital or paper currency. We will follow the trail right back to their doorstep and will work diligently to hold the responsible individuals accountable.”