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Again, though, the undercover agent claimed the bitcoins being transferred would be used to purchase illegally obtained credit card numbers, this time from the batch compromised late last year in the high-profile breach against American retailer Target.
Nicholas Weaver, a researcher at the International Computer Science Institute ICSI and the University of California, Berkeley, told Krebs that the latest blows to the bitcoin community come on the heels of other recent incidents in which similar websites that facilitate transfers and exchanges have been hit hard by authorities. Unlike those events, however, the arrests out of Florida involve action being taken on a state level, and not federally, for the first time ever.
And that means you either have to wait several days for the wire transfer or bank transfer to go through, or if you want to buy them quickly you pay with cash through a site like localbitcoins. Then last week, bitcoin exchange MtGox announced that all transfer out of the site had spontaneously been put on hold. Meanwhile, Ross William Ulbricht — the alleged mastermind behind the Silk Road underground e-marketplace, was charged last week with one count of narcotics conspiracy, one count of conspiracy to commit computer hacking, one count of money laundering conspiracy, and one count of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise due to his involvement with that site.
The BitInstant exchange, based in New York City, lets people buy bitcoins locally at more than , locations in the United States, as well as Brazil, Russia and elsewhere. Shrem is also vice chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation, one of the currency's biggest advocates. The Winklevoss twins said in an emailed statement that they are "deeply concerned" about Shrem's arrest. The black market website only let people buy and sell goods with bitcoins, and Faiella made a business of exchanging cash for bitcoins.
That's where Shrem's bitcoin exchange came in handy. Shrem sold Faiella the bitcoins that eventually made their way to drug buyers and sellers, according to an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service. Though Shrem knew where the money ultimately ended up, he never reported it to the Treasury Department, according to the U. Federal documents cite email exchanges between Shrem and Faiella that show how close they worked together.
Although Shrem never knew Faiella by his actual name -- only by BTCKing -- the young executive helped the older man avoid trouble. For example, when Faiella's frequent and large cash deposits raised eyebrows at a cash processing company, Shrem advised Faiella on how to avoid sounding alarms. Faiella eventually ended the partnership with Shrem. To gather evidence against Shrem and Faiella, federal agents posed as Silk Road users and bought bitcoins from Faiella.
According to the court documents, agents then traced the money they paid, which led them to Faiella and eventually Shrem.