The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) uses the activity of the Bitcoin wallet and a former exchange account as key evidence to stop Boiko, the Russian rapper accused of money laundering conspiracy.
In an open affidavit earlier this week, FBI Special Agent Smantha Shelnick said she and her team had used the digital paper trail to uncover a major money laundering operation.
Run by a criminal organization known as QQAAZZ. Rapper Maksim Boiko is believed to be connected to the leaders of this gang.
FBI and involvement in money laundering
The FBI used the Bitcoin wallet to track down and follow cybercriminals. QQAAZZ received and laundered money for cybercriminals by exchanging fiat money for crypto. The group had signed up for multiple exchanges, including Coinbase and Bitstamp, with the username “Atrofi95”.
Since these exchanges have KYC rules (known as know your client), FBI officials linked the accounts to an email account controlled by Aleksejs Trofimovics.
Aleksejs Trofimovics, who, as the affidavit states, regularly communicated with the phone numbers associated with Boiko.
Boiko’s phones, used to communicate with Trofimovics, included various screenshots of bit-coin wallet addresses and transactions of up to $ 35,000.
In a subsequent investigation, many of the images were found in conversations between Boiko and the suspected QQAAZZ members.
Boiko as a suspect for money laundering
Suspicions were first raised for officials after Boiko and his wife tried to enter the United States with $ 20,000 in cash in January. There were also several photos on his phone, from the year 2015, which showed him with large stacks of money.
Back then, Boiko said the money came from the income raised from the rental of properties in Russia, as well as from the investments he had made in Bitcoin. Never specifying if it was money laundering.
For the FBI complaint, filed in the Western District of Pennsylvania. Shelnick said the agency also found several conversations between suspected cybercriminals and someone by the name of “gangass.”
In this way, they related this pseudonym to Boiko through an account in BTC-e, a crypto exchange closed in 2017 on suspicions of being used for money laundering. Certainly, cryptocurrencies have become a problem for the FBI, due to cybercrime.
However, as exposed in this article, cryptocurrencies are not necessarily the enemies of the police authorities. Actually, they can become your greatest allies. As in this case, where the FBI uses Bitcoin to uncover a gang of cybercriminals.
For his part, Boiko, who is now charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, continues to release singles under the Smells Weed Music label.