Prosecutors say the NH man used a crypto business to cater to criminals

Prosecutors said a Keene, New Hampshire, man used a cryptocurrency exchange to break the law, but the defense denies the charges. Ian Freeman is accused of tax evasion and money laundering. In federal court on Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office presented its review of the case and why prosecutors believe Freeman is guilty of several financial crimes. Prosecutors said Freeman operated his bitcoin business at local kiosks, online and through a messaging app. His “golden rule” to customers was: “What you do with your bitcoins is your business. Don’t tell me,” prosecutors said. Prosecutors said this philosophy allowed Freeman’s business to serve criminals around the world, saying most of his clients were “romance scams” where the scammer creates an online relationship with the victim by telling the victim that they loves and wants money. Some of these victims are scheduled to testify at the trial. Prosecutors said Freeman would receive wire transfers from victims, take a portion and then send the rest to customers in bitcoins. Prosecutors said one of Freeman’s challenges was having his bank accounts closed because of suspicious transactions. So he hired a team to open new accounts, prosecutors said. Prosecutors said the accounts would be opened in the names of religious organizations, mostly churches, but never disclosed to the banks that the churches would be involved with Bitcoin. Prosecutors said Freeman would send specific rules about how to send the money, such as adding that the transfers were “church donations” to avoid red flags at the banks. Freeman’s defense and supporters said none of that was true, saying Freeman was not a fraud. They said the churches are genuine and give back to the community in several ways. Prosecutors also said Freeman’s business failed to comply with business money transfer rules and that he failed to pay taxes from 2016-19. The defense said the trial could last up to three weeks.

Prosecutors said a Keene, New Hampshire, man used a cryptocurrency exchange to break the law, but the defense denies the charges.

Ian Freeman is accused of tax evasion and money laundering.

In federal court Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office presented its review of the case and why prosecutors believe Freeman is guilty of several financial crimes.

Prosecutors said Freeman ran his bitcoin business at local kiosks, online and through a messaging app. His “golden rule” to customers was: “What you do with your bitcoins is your business. Don’t tell me,” prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said this philosophy allowed Freeman’s business to serve criminals around the world, saying most of his clients were “romance scams” where the scammer creates an online relationship with the victim by telling the victim he loves them and wants money.

Some of these victims are scheduled to testify at the trial.

Prosecutors said Freeman would receive wire transfers from victims, take a portion and then send the rest to clients in bitcoins.

Prosecutors said one of Freeman’s challenges was having his bank accounts closed because of suspicious transactions. So he hired a team to open new accounts, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said the accounts would be opened in the names of religious organizations, mostly churches, but never disclosed to the banks that the churches would be involved with bitcoins.

Prosecutors said Freeman would send specific rules about how to send the money, such as adding that the transfers were “church donations” to avoid tipping off banks.

Freeman’s defense and supporters said none of that was true, saying Freeman was not a fraud. They said the churches are genuine and give back to the community in several ways.

Prosecutors also said Freeman’s business failed to comply with business money transfer rules and that he failed to pay taxes from 2016-19.

The defense said the trial could last up to three weeks.

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