The U.S. Department of Justice recently detailed a complaint alleging cryptocurrency mixing service ChipMixer processed more than $3 billion in unlawful transactions.
ChipMixer operator Minh Quốc Nguyễn, 49, of Hanoi, Vietnam, has been charged with alleged money laundering, operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, and identity theft connected to the operation of ChipMixer.
The Justice Department complaint indicated if convicted, Nguyễn faces a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison.
“Working with partners at home and abroad, the Department of Justice disabled a prolific cryptocurrency mixer, which has fueled ransomware attacks, state-sponsored crypto-heists, and darknet purchases across the globe,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said. “We will use all of our authorities to protect victims and take the fight to our adversaries. Cybercrime seeks to exploit boundaries, but the Department of Justice’s network of alliances transcends borders and enables disruption of the criminal activity that jeopardizes our global cybersecurity.”
The Justice Department complaint alleges ChipMixer allowed customers to deposit bitcoin, which ChipMixer then mixed with other ChipMixer users’ bitcoin, commingling the funds in a way that made it difficult for law enforcement or regulators to trace the transactions.
Per the Justice Department complaint, ChipMixer allegedly offered numerous features to enhance its criminal customers’ anonymity and possessed a clearnet web domain but operated primarily as a Tor hidden service, concealing the operating location of its servers to prevent seizure by law enforcement.
“Countering cybercrime requires the ultimate level of collaboration between and among all law enforcement partners,” FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate said. “The FBI will continue to elevate those partnerships and leverage all available tools to identify, apprehend and hold accountable these bad actors and put an end to their illicit activity.”