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Liberty Reserve Founder Gets 20 Years For Money Laundering

Convicted for virtual currencies laundering operations worth $8 billion.

Arthur Budovsky, 42, founder of digital currency empire Liberty Reserve, was sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined $500,000 Friday for running a massive money laundering enterprise used by cybercriminals worldwide.

The sentence was announced May 6 by Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell for the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for the Southern District of New York, accordingn to a press release.

The defendant, according to US attorney Bharara, violated US criminal laws by facilitating “money laundering on a massive scale for criminals around the globe” through virtual currencies. Transactions included trafficking the illegal proceeds of Ponzi schemes, credit card fraudsters and other criminal activities.

At the time of its forced shutdown in May 2013, the company was found to be operating 5.5 million user accounts, with more than 600,000 in the US alone, and had done around 78 million financial transactions totaling over $8 billion.

According to the press release, four co-defendants, Vladimir Kats, Azzeddine El Amine, Mark Marmilev and Maxim Chukharev, have already pleaded guilty. Marmilev and Chukharev were sentenced to five years and three years in prison, respectively. Charges remain pending against Liberty Reserve and two individual defendants who are fugitives.

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