Cyrus Farivar
– 7/11/2018, 9:00 AM While selling bitcoins is not inherently illegal, doing so in such large volumes without keeping extensive records to mitigate money laundering is. Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles called the case against Theresa Lynn Tetley—a 50-year-old former stockbroker who bought and sold several million dollars worth of bitcoins—the first of its kind in the region.

Authorities began intensely investigating Tetley starting in 2016 when, unbeknownst to her, she met with an undercover female agent form the Drug Enforcement Administration. When the DEA agent told Tetley she wanted to stay anonymous, Tetley readily agreed.

Eventually, Tetley was introduced to the woman’s “boyfriend,” who was also an undercover agent. Over the next several months, the boyfriend conducted increasingly large transactions with Tetley, at one point specifically saying that he possessed a supply of “coke, meth, and weed” that had recently been “stolen.”

These deals eventually came to a head in March 2017, when Tetley brought $300,000—held in two Trader Joe’s paper grocery bags—to buy an equivalent amount of bitcoins from the fake boyfriend. Tetley was arrested immediately and eventually pleaded guilty to money laundering.

Tetley was known to do business with William James Farber, who was arrested last year. Authorities believe he was behind one of AlphaBay’s largest drug rings. Read more from…

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