GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Three people have pleaded guilty to operating a money-transmitting operation without a license at a nonprofit between March 2017 and December 2018, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office – Western District of Michigan.
The US Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday that Christopher Allan Boden, 46, from Grand Rapids; Daniel Reynold DeJager, 35, from Tacoma, Wash.; and Leesa Beth Vogt, 37, from Grand Rapids decided to enter into a plea deal with prosecutors.
DeJager purchased and frequently laundered bitcoin, which would then be transmitted to Boden to sell, the U.S. Attorney’s Office explains, adding other staff at The Geek Group (Vogt included) sold bitcoin to their customers.
While it is legally permissible to purchase and sell cryptocurrency like bitcoin, authorities claim the members of The Geek Group were not licensed to do so in the way they had.
Vogt and Boden, among others, avoided detection so they could buy more bitcoin, officials say.
We’re told the defendants managed to sell over $740,000 worth of cryptocurrency.
“Cryptocurrency is not a license or invitation to commit crime,” says U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge. “Federal law regulates those who deal in cryptocurrency as it does those who deal in government-issued currency. We will root out and prosecute crypto criminals wherever we find them.”
Sentencing hearings are scheduled to take place on Feb. 17 (Vogt), Feb. 22 (DeJager) and Feb. 25 (Boden).