If you ever want to keep the conversation at a social gathering from approaching uncomfortable topics such as why you are still single, then you can do worse than talk about your experiences with cryptocurrency. The chances are high that the party guests will know so little about cryptocurrency that you will have to explain to them from the beginning about what cryptocurrencies are and how blockchain technology works. Eventually, the subject may turn to laws related to cryptocurrency.
When it comes to criminal law, cryptocurrency-related offenses are not their own separate category. Theft is theft, and fraud is fraud, whether the valuable property you are accused of misappropriating is banknotes, cash in a bank account, or cryptocurrency.
If you are being accused of a financial crime related to your cryptocurrency transactions, contact a Texas white-collar crime lawyer at the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC.
Stealing Cryptocurrency Is Theft
The same theft laws that apply to money or movable property also apply to cryptocurrency. The penalties for theft of cryptocurrency (or anything else) depend on the value of the assets stolen. One difference between cryptocurrency theft cases and cases involving theft of other types of property is that cryptocurrency theft cases tend to go through federal court. Cryptocurrency exists in the ether rather than clearly within the borders of Texas, so cryptocurrency cases, like most cases involving Internet crimes, tend to face prosecution at the federal level.
Money Laundering and Cryptocurrency
In some ways, cryptocurrency is the perfect vehicle for money laundering. Like banknotes, you can exchange them with someone who does not know your name, but unlike when you are exchanging banknotes, the sender and the recipient do not have to see each other in person. The fact that banks cannot scrutinize every cryptocurrency trade the way they can every deposit and withdrawal of funds in a bank account is why some people choose to use it for illegal purposes. Cryptocurrency can pass through many different digital wallets before it reaches an exchange, where it is converted into a more liquid asset, such as a prepaid gift card. If you handled cryptocurrency as part of a money laundering operation, you could face criminal charges, even if your role was simply that of a money mule who knew little about the origin and destination of the money.
Other Crimes Where Cryptocurrency Might Play a Role
Authorities are always on the lookout for cryptocurrency transactions used to fund drug trafficking operations and the exchange of illegal pornographic content, among other illegal activities. In addition to being accused of money laundering, you could face charges for conspiracy to commit drug trafficking or some other organized illegal operation. If this happens, a criminal defense lawyer can help you present the most appropriate defenses.
Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC About Criminal Defense Cases
A criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are being accused of financial crimes involving cryptocurrency. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC, to discuss your case with a Dallas criminal defense attorney.