, 2022-10-12 11:30:56,
A Sunnyside man was convicted by a federal jury in Brooklyn Tuesday, Oct. 11, for laundering Bitcoin and operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business following a four-day trial before U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen.
Mustafa Gokiu, 50, also known as “Mustangy,” was found guilty of money laundering and operating an unlawful money transmitting business as part of a scheme to launder purported Bitcoin proceeds of drug trafficking, according to federal prosecutors.
As proven at trial, in July 2018, DEA agents identified an advertisement posted on localbitcoins.com where an individual with the username “Mustangy” offered to purchase up to $99,999 worth of bitcoins (BTC), a digital currency, and convert them into U.S. currency for a fee. Law enforcement agents later identified Gokiu as the individual using “Mustangy.”
On July 11, 2018, a DEA special agent acting undercover, began exchanging encrypted text messages with Gokiu to arrange in-person exchanges on BTC to U.S. currency. The agent and Gokiu met and engaged in seven transactions or attempted transactions of BTC to cash over a nine-month period, culminating in his arrest in April 2019.
The agent indicated to Gokiu on several occasions the source of the BTC the defendant was exchanging was narcotics trafficking and that as part of the undercover agent’s business was selling oxycodone, Adderall, and marijuana. The transactions occurred in Gokiu’s parked Mercedes-Benz, at a coffee shop in Sunnyside,…
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