back to article Prepare your shocked faces: Crypto-coin exchange boss laundered millions of bucks for online auction crooks

A Bulgarian man has been convicted of laundering through his cryptocurrency exchange at least £4m ($5m) his fellow crooks had cheated out of hundreds of people online. Rossen Iossifov, 53, who ran the RG Coins exchange, was on Monday found guilty of conspiracy to commit racketeering, and conspiracy to commit money laundering, …

  1. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Oh , the joys of unregulated...

    financial services

    taxi services

    accommodation services

    etc.

    All these services were eventually regulated after long histories of malpractice. Now, inexplicably, we've come to accept that the regulation is unnecessary - and we're paying the price.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh , the joys of unregulated...

      Philosophy meets reality, must be shocking for those in the crypto echo chamber to find out your ideals of freedom enable incarceration....

    2. Grease Monkey Silver badge

      Re: Oh , the joys of unregulated...

      Regulation of financial services? Remember when Gordon Brown reduced regulation of banking in Britain to attract foreign banks to practice here? Then he acted all surprised when those same banks started doing things here that they wouldn't be allowed to do in their home countries.

      On a related point how long is it going to take governments to figure how much tax avoidance is enabled by bitcoin?

      1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble?

        Re: Oh , the joys of unregulated...

        On a related point how long is it going to take governments to figure how much tax avoidance is enabled by bitcoin?

        Since they can't even get a handle on how much tax avoidance happens under regular currency, I'm thinking the answer is "Quite a while"

    3. Martin M

      Re: Oh , the joys of unregulated...

      FATF country members are responsible for implementing recommendations on Virtual Assets and Virtual Asset Service Providers. The EU has 5AMLD which mandates that crypto exchanges have to have the same AML controls as banks. This is implemented in the UK in The Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) Regulations 2019 statutory instrument.

      So who exactly has been saying money laundering regulation is unnecessary?

      Enforcement is necessary for compliance, of course, but the regulation is there.

  2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    bogus ads posted on Craigslist and auctions listed on eBay for flash vehicles and other top-end gear that never actually existed.

    Who in their right mind would buy a flash car from Craigslist, and pay in Bitcoin? Unless perhaps those bitcoins were already proceeds from dubious sources.

    At least 900 Americans were duped

    Hmmm.

    1. chuBb. Silver badge

      They paid cash, gang members converted to crypto, hence laundering charges

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They didn't pay in bitcoin. Their payment was converted to bitcoin, then back again. It says so in the article.

      It's typical of one of our MAGAs or one of your brexitters though.

    3. Chris G Silver badge

      I think the crooks received payment in normal funds then converted to bitcoin in order to transfer the money out of the country avoiding the usual laundering safeguards in banks.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Fair enough, my mistake, but the point still stands. Who buys expensive stuff like cars from online auction sites when they know they have no comeback if the deal goes south?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Who buys?

          Who buys expensive stuff from sites where they have no comeback?

          People looking for a bargain. And people have been preying on them more or less for ever.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          People who failed to understand jack and the beanstalk originally ended with him destitute with a handful of beans, but was retconned to a happy ending by the think of the children brigade who realised it was better for there pockets to show there was some upside for donating to their cause even if the value returned was questionable....

          1. TonyJ Silver badge
            WTF?

            "...People who failed to understand jack and the beanstalk originally ended with him destitute with a handful of beans, but was retconned to a happy ending by the think of the children brigade who realised it was better for there pockets to show there was some upside for donating to their cause even if the value returned was questionable...."

            Care to try again in English?

            1. TimMaher Silver badge
              Happy

              Jack indeed

              “Fee-fi-fo-fum,

              I smell the blood of an Englishman”

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "Who buys expensive stuff like cars from online auction sites when they know they have no comeback if the deal goes south?"

          And is prepared to hand over the cash before even kicking the tyres?

          1. TonyJ Silver badge

            "...And is prepared to hand over the cash before even kicking the tyres?..."

            This is the thing. Are we now at a stage where non-face to face interaction has become so normal for some people that they are prepared to do just this?

            Funnily enough I've just bought a car. Even though I know the dealer from the past and trust them, I still went to test drive it. I wanted to be sure it was as described (it was) but more importantly that I could actually get along with it - will the seats be comfortable enough for long journeys, meaning I won't arrive crippled with pain? Do all the buttons and switches work as they should? Does it drive properly? etc etc etc

            And whilst I'd normally try for a bit of money off, I knew from the outset that this was a steal of a buy and in this particular case didn't bother.

            But of course you can't do any of that when you buy something unseen off of a website somewhere.

            I wouldn't even be duped into the "we need a deposit" without at least seeing the damn thing.

            1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

              The thing is , with internet searching , as opposed to the local paper copy of Exchamnge and mart, your 'shopping zone' is country wide , if not wider.

              So if a good example of the model you set your heart on comes up 500 miles away , a couple of grand less than the others you looked at , watcha gonna do?

              I guess there a max value for where "buy unseen" is a viable strategy - possibly the credit card fraud refund ceiling (is it £15k) or much less if that doesent apply.

              1. WolfFan Silver badge

                If it’s 500 miles away, and costs $2000 less, and the seller is available on a weekend, I’ll bloody drive there in my current car. Seven-eight hours there, same back, an hour or two having a look... I’d take another driver with me, to drive the other vehicle back. Maybe we’d stay the night at an el cheapo motel before driving back.

                Now, if the seller starts making excuses why he can’t do weekends, just now I can be free Monday, so I could drive out Sunday and show bright and early Monday morning and drive back immediately on getting the car. If still excuses, why that says all necessary about the actual existence of the vehicle, now doesn’t it?

                I treat this kind of thing the way I now treat the ‘car warranty’ and ‘your Apple/Microsoft/someone else accounts have been hacked’ people; I ask for names and places. They swear at me and hang up.

  3. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    How clean is this laundry?

    Did they get cash out of ebay payments and *then* bitcoin? or straight from fraud accounts into bitcoin?

    if they had the cash did they need the bitcoin layer?

    "Where you get that £5m ?"

    "Bitcoin windfall , got it at the exchange"

    "Wheres the wallet?"

    "here"

    "oh *that* 5m , the chain says that came from lots of bitcoin deposits from these fraudulemt ebay scam bank accounts"

    OR

    "Wheres the wallet?"

    "lost it"

    "ok you're free to go" (in which case why not just say you got your suitcase full of cash out of bitcoin)

    At the end of the day , dont you have to prove a legitimate method of earning your ill gotton millions , regardless of how the money moved from A to B?

    "Laundering" doesent just mean moving it around

  4. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

    Quite close to home

    I have a few UK limited companies, one of which is essentially a non-trading one with no internet presence. Someone emailed me Sunday telling me that my company name, number and my own name are being used on a website (with the same name as the company) pretending to be a boat brokerage. The same crowd took tens of thousands last time they set it up apparently, routing the money through HSBC accounts (a different one for each buyer) in the UK to their accounts elsewhere.

    I've filed an "abusive registration" notification on Sunday with nominet to try and seize control of the domain. But as it stands now it looks like a legitimate business, with a company registration number, contact details - all cribbed from companies house - as well as a UK non-regional number, and presumably a UK bank account at the end.

    Questions I would like answered are WTF HSBC are doing with the know-your-customer, is that account also in my companies name, and if so how the actual fuck did that happen. But without chasing the transactions through to the end I'm not going to find that out.

    1. TimMaher Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Quite close to home

      That’s tough.

      Good luck with Nominet unless you want to buy a .uk.

      And good luck with HSBC. Have you seen the FinSEC report? Or read their cringing support for the “government” in Hong Kong?

      It seems like you have an uphill struggle on your hands.

      1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: Quite close to home

        My name, but not my money fortunately. And fortunately the domain is a .co.uk so I have some hope of nominet doing what they say they'll do.

        Yes, the FinSEC report was fresh in my mind when I posted this - HSBC seem to be at every level don't they? Helping mexican drug lords launder billions, and helping eastern-european crims pinch a few thousand from some poor sap that wants to buy a boat. The worlds local bank indeed.

        1. WolfFan Silver badge

          Re: Quite close to home

          HSBC are a bunch of pirates. Always were, always will be.

    2. pop_corn

      Re: Quite close to home

      I had a similar problem. Someone registered a domain name in my company name, setup a pukka looking website, and registered an address at a serviced office site. Then they ordered 10 brand new iPhones in my LtdCo's name.

      I only found out when my normal £50 pcm phone bill suddenly jumped to £850, as they'd managed to get their order added on to my account!

      Fortunately it was stopped before any phones were sent out, my bill was sorted, and I successfully seized the domain. But it wasted about 10 hours of my life.

  5. julian.smith
    Pirate

    Small beer

    Clickbait alert!

    "large-scale cyber-fraud ring" ..... "millions of bucks" .... "high end cars"

    In fact it's a pocket change ($5m) scam whose proceeds were laundered via Bitcoin

    $5m scammed from 900 dumb Americans (about $5,500 per mug) - high end cars aren't worth what they used to be!

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