On April 4th, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced in a press release that Southern Florida prosecutors forfeited $34 million in cryptocurrency. According to the press release, the successful forfeiture action is the result of a joint investigation partnership among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in Florida whose goal is to combat transaction-related organized crimes including, among others, money laundering. The press release explains that the investigation revealed a southern Florida resident was using cryptocurrency to engage in money laundering schemes facilitated by money transmitter services.
The DOJ’s civil forfeiture complaint alleges the defendant used “tumblers,” online services that make it harder to trace the origin of cryptocurrency transactions, to launder various forms of cryptocurrencies. The press release explains that tumblers mix multiple cryptocurrency transactions, then distribute them to a designated cryptocurrency wallet at random times to obscure their original sources. The DOJ’s complaint further alleges that the defendant also used the funds to engage in over 100,000 illegal transactions.