California Man Pleads Guilty to Illegal Bitcoin Exchange

On Friday, Westwood, California man, Kunal Kalra, pled guilty to running an unlicensed virtual currency (Bitcoin) exchange.

Kalra Scheme Involved Unlicensed Bitcoin 

According to the plea agreement, Kalra created an ATM-style kiosk that converted cash into Bitcoin and vice versa, knowing that the kiosk would be used by dark-web drug dealers using the darknet to sell narcotics. 

Kalra ran his illegal digital currency exchange from May 2015 to October 2017. During this time, Kalra was able to accumulate $25 million worth of exchanges. 

He was eventually caught as a result of a sting operation in which he exchanged $400,000 of unlicensed cryptocurrency with an undercover agent. After meeting the agent in person, Kalra was told that the cash for the cryptocurrency was obtained through the sale of two pounds of methamphetamine. On more than one occasion, Kalra proceeded with the digital currency exchange with other undercover government agents even after the disclosure that the money was from drug trafficking.

As a way to conceal his illegal business activities, Kalra used a series of fake bank accounts under various pseudonyms.  

Sting Operation Results in Seizure of Assets 

Law enforcement has seized over $1.4 million in assets from Kalra’s bank accounts, personal property, and cryptocurrencies. Kalra is scheduled to appear in court in September. 

Speak with a Securities Fraud Attorney

Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein, P.A. has vast experience representing investors who have lost money as a result of fraudulent schemes or stockbroker misconduct. We will aggressively pursue claims to recover your losses or damages.

If you are looking for a securities fraud attorney to review your rights and options, the securities fraud lawyers at Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein, P.A. represent individual and institutional investors who have lost money as a result of fraudulent schemes or stockbroker misconduct. 

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