The owner and manager of the cryptocurrency exchange RG Coins has been sentenced to a long prison term for his involvement in a million dollar program to defraud US citizens.
US District Court Judge Robert Weir sentenced Rossen Iossifov to a 10-year prison sentence, 85% of which must be served behind bars under US federal law, according to a Justice Department press release on Tuesday.
The 53-year-old former Bulgarian citizen was convicted of conspiracy to commit an offense under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering.
Iossifov purposely did business to assist criminals in laundering money from fraud proceeds and, as per the release, protected himself from criminal liability.
Five of Iossifov’s main customers in Bulgaria belonged to a criminal company known as the AOAF (Alexandria (Romania) Online Auction Fraud) network. To date, 17 members of the AOAF network have been convicted of their roles in the program.
The online auction fraud gang targeted at least 900 US citizens in a “large-scale” operation. Members of the Romania-based AOAF placed false ads on online sales sites like eBay and Craigslist for expensive goods, usually vehicles, that actually weren’t there.
After the victims sent the payment, the money was laundered using cryptocurrency accepted on behalf of domestic employees, who would then transfer the cryptocurrency proceeds to money launderers based overseas.
Iossifov took the final step in the system on behalf of the criminal network, the court found. In less than three years, Iossifov washed nearly $ 5 million in cryptocurrency for four of the five criminal co-conspirators of the AOAF.
In total, more than $ 7 million were defrauded by US victims through the program. In return, Iossifov earned over $ 184,000 in revenue from the transactions, according to the Justice Department.