Bulgarian national Rossen Iossofov, owner of Bulgaria-based bitcoin exchange RG Coins, was sentenced on January 12, 2021 to 121 months in prison for his role in an international, multi-million dollar scheme to defraud American victims. In addition to the 121-month sentence, Iossofov is required to pay $2.6 million in restitution, and under federal law must serve at least 85 percent of his prison sentence.
As previously reported, Iossifov was convicted by a federal jury of conspiracy to commit racketeering and conspiracy to commit money laundering, for his willful participation in a scheme to assist five of his principal clients, Romanian members of a criminal enterprise known as the Alexandra (Romania) Online Auction Fraud (AOAF) Network, to launder the proceeds of their fraudulent enterprise that took advantage of at least 900 Americans. Under the scheme, co-conspirators posted false advertisements on popular online auction and sales websites for expensive goods (usually vehicles) that did not actually exist. Once victims were convinced to send payments, the funds were converted to cryptocurrency, then transferred by Iossifov to foreign-based money launderers.
Court documents also revealed that Iossifov’s business catered to criminal enterprises, by providing more favorable exchange rates to members of the AOAF Network and allowing criminal clients to conduct cryptocurrency exchanges for cash without any identification or documentation that would show the source of the funds.
Iossofov is currently seeking to overturn his conviction, and filed an appeal in the Sixth Circuit US Court of Appeals on January 22, 2021.