The founder of Cryptsy, an online crypto exchange company, could face a life sentence after the U.S. Department of Justice accused him of tax evasion, wire fraud, money laundering, computer fraud and tampering with records.
The 17-count indictment issued against Paul Vernon carries a maximum of over 300 years in prison if the court finds him guilty on all counts.
The indictment comes six years after the abrupt closure of Cryptsy, alleging that in the period between May 2013 and May 2015, Vernon utilised his access to cryptocurrencies deposited on his website to gain over $1 million dollars from investors.
Furthermore, the Indictment alleges that Vernon had tried to evade federal income tax for the 2014/15 period by filing fraudulent U.S. individual income tax returns, underreporting what he owes to the United States.
The charges contained in the Indictment however are merely allegations. Vernon is still presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The indictment comes at a time when the regulatory framework of cryptocurrency is under intense scrutiny in the US, as President Joe Biden prepares to map out a plan for new regulations on digital currency in the US.
There have been widespread reports that digital currency exchanges will be at the heart of Biden’s new regulations, as the sector continues to mature and take on increased importance in the nationwide economy.
It follows a global pattern of countries taking a fresh approach on digital currency as we emerge from the pandemic – in a bid to cement economic stability and protect national currencies as the growth of digital currency engagement has increased at a rapid rate.