Mark Alexander Hopkins, also known as "Doctor Bitcoin" or Rizzn online, pleaded guilty to running an illegal cash-to-crypto conversion business and is now facing up to 15 months in prison.
According to this Cointelegraph article (opens in new tab), if you ask Rizzn, he says he's the victim of an "encroaching state war on privacy, and the general brokenness of the criminal justice system" and that "Texas and other states are pushing BTC adoption, literally manufacturing felons."
Rizzn wrote in a tweet thread (opens in new tab) before going to prison that he didn't know that "Bitcoin p2p is a federal crime punishable with up to five years imprisonment" after he pleaded guilty last June on one count of operation of unlicensed money transmitting business.
In 2019 Hopkin's home was raided for his part in a Nigerian lottery scam, allegedly taking between 500k and $1.5 million from the scammers and converting it to Bitcoin for a fee. Rizzn claims he did not know that his customers were being investigated for a crime when facilitating the transactions. In layman's terms, he pleaded guilty to laundering money for his customers.
Here's the thing that makes this important to pay attention to and resolve: I'm a nobody. I'm not Ross. I wasn't on the dark web. I'm not Edward. I didn't work for the NSA.I'm not Julian. I didn't break national secrets.I'm just a regular bitcoiner caught in the crosshairs.September 4, 2022
However, Rizzn admitted to authorities that he had promised not to get involved in the scammer's business dealings and told them to "circumvent financial institution reporting requirements by keeping deposits under $9,500."
Rizzn also instructed the scammer to lie to financial institutions about the transactions by saying "I’m set up as a marketing company, so tell them you’re paying for a marketing campaign," according to the press release (opens in new tab) from the US District Attorney's Office in the Northern District of Texas.
"This defendant ignored federal law and allowed fraudsters to use Bitcoin to operate under the radar of law enforcement," said Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah. "We are determined to rid the Bitcoin marketplace of anyone who knowingly helps criminal actors stash illegal profits inside crypto wallets."
The Doctor ended his thread by accusing the state of "constructing felonies for us, and the blockchain has a long memory," as well as the need to "advocate for the sensible government as well as our fellow fallen cypherpunks."
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