Miami, Florida – Raul Rodriguez, the owner of a Miami-based digital currency exchange business, has admitted to running an unlicensed money-transmitting operation, marking a significant development in the enforcement of federal financial regulations.
Violation of Federal Law
The 43-year-old Rodriguez, known online as “raultiovigia”, pleaded guilty to operating his business without the necessary license, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1960. His activities revolved around converting cash into Bitcoin and other digital currencies for a fee. He conducted these transactions through “LocalBitcoins.com,” an online digital currency exchange platform.
According to the plea agreement, from 2016 to 2022, Rodriguez exchanged a staggering $5,047,462 in digital currency. Remarkably, he was the highest-volume trader of digital currency on the LocalBitcoins.com platform in the State of Florida during the first two years of this period. This high level of activity placed him squarely in the sights of federal investigators.
Involvement with Criminal Elements
Rodriguez confessed that his customers included individuals involved in criminal activities. Notably, he provided services to an online narcotics trafficker and a professional money launderer. Both clients have been previously prosecuted in the Southern District of Florida, highlighting the seriousness of Rodriguez’s unlawful business operations.
Rodriguez is scheduled for sentencing on April 2nd at 11:00 a.m. in Miami. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison. U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida and Special Agent in Charge Matthew D. Line of the IRS-CI, Miami Field Office, announced the guilty plea.
The investigation into this case was a collaborative effort involving the IRS-CI Miami, with assistance from the FBI’s Miami Field Office and the DEA’s Miami Field Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Browne is leading the prosecution, with Assistant U.S. Attorneys Marx Calderon and Emily Stone focusing on asset forfeiture.