HOUSTON -A 49-year-old out-of-state man has pleaded guilty to running an unlicensed money sending business in the Houston area, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.
Hien Ngoc Vo, of Seattle, Washington, admitted that between March 16, 2016, and June 8, 2016, he operated a banned cryptocurrency business.
Vo uses Paxful and LocalBitcoins to buy and sell Bitcoin – websites where people can buy and sell cryptocurrencies. He earns profits from sales by collecting a percentage of transactions that are between 5-30%. During the transaction, Vo did not ask the client about any identification or intent to purchase the cryptocurrency, prosecutors said.
Vo accepts funds in the form of cash, direct bank deposits, American Express credit cards as well as Amazon and general gift cards. He used several bank accounts to do business, but the banks closed the accounts after asking about the origin of the funds.
Within three months, the business sent unlicensed money received and sent approximately $ 515,147.19 in Bitcoin.
Vo faces up to five years in federal prison and could face a $ 250,000 maximum fine. Sentencing will take place on September 5th.
He was allowed to remain on bond pending sentencing.
The FBI is conducting an investigation.
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