September 28, 2020

Owner of Bulgarian cyber currency exchange convicted of money laundering and racketeering crimes

On September 28, 2020, Rossen Iossifov, a Bulgarian national, was convicted by a federal jury in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, of conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit racketeering for his role in a transnational, multi-million dollar cyber fraud scheme, that victimized at least 900 Americans.  According to evidence presented at trial, Iossifov, the owner of RG Coins, a Bulgaria-based Bitcoin exchange, exchanged over $4.9 million worth of Bitcoin from 2015 to 2018, that he knew was derived from illegal activity.

According to court documents, Iossifov and his Romania-based co-conspirators created fictitious online accounts using stolen American identities, to post false advertisements to online sales and auction websites for high cost goods (usually vehicles) that did not actually exist.  The conspirators allegedly persuaded victims to send money for the advertised goods, using deceptive narratives, such as posing as military members needing to sell items quickly before deployment, in order to obtain funds that were transferred  by domestic associates to foreign-based money launderers in the form of cryptocurrency.  The conspirators also set up fake call centers that impersonated consumer support representatives, and delivered invoices to victims bearing trademarks of reputable companies, in order to make the transactions appear legitimate.

A total of seventeen defendants have been convicted in this case, and three others are fugitives.  Iossifov’s sentencing is currently scheduled for January 12, 2021.

Dept of Justice Press Release