A New Jersey pastor was found guilty of pocketing $150,000 from shady bitcoin traders in exchange for giving them control of a credit union he headed so they could run it as a front for their bitcoin exchange.
The pastor, Trevón Gross, was found guilty along with programmer Yuri Lebedev by a Manhattan federal court jury on Friday. Anthony Murgio, the founder of the exchange, Coin.mx, pleaded guilty in January.
In 2013, Murgio founded Coin.mx and Lebedev helped run it. The exchange operated through a phony front company called Collectables Club in order to fool banks into thinking illegal bitcoin transactions were legitimate sales of stamps and sports memorabilia. By posing as a site for philatelists and sports nerds and by miscoding credit and debit card transactions, the pair tricked banks into processing more than $10 million in bitcoin-related deals, according to prosecutors.
The pair also sold bitcoins to victims of “ransomware”—cyberattacks that involve hackers electronically blocking access to victims’ computers until bitcoin ransoms are paid. “In doing so, Murgio, and his co-conspirators knowingly enabled the criminals responsible for those attacks to receive the proceeds of their crimes,”