Jury Finds Two Guilty in Bitcoin Exchange Bribery Scheme; Related Criminal Prosecutions Looming
By Nicole C. Mueller and Clifford C. Histed
On March 17, 2017, a Manhattan federal jury convicted Trevon Gross, a pastor, and Yuri Lebedev, a software engineer, of bribery and of conspiring to operate bitcoin exchange Coin.mx as an unlawful money transmitting business. The jury also convicted Lebedev of fraud. Sentencing is scheduled for July 2017.
Lebedev and Coin.mx operator Anthony Murgio were charged in 2015. Coin.mx allegedly operated as a conduit for cybercrime-related funds, and in violation of state and federal money transmitting laws. Prosecutors argued to the jury that Murgio and Lebedev sought to trick the financial institutions through which Coin.mx processed transactions into believing its unlawful bitcoin exchange business was simply a members-only “collectibles club.” Part of the Coin.mx scheme included processing and profiting from bitcoin transactions conducted on behalf of victims of ransomware attacks by allowing the victims to buy bitcoins to pay ransom payments while generating revenue for Coin.mx. Murgio pleaded guilty before trial.