Keonne Rodriguez and William Lonergan Hill, founders and CEO of Samourai Wallet, a company that focuses on Bitcoin privacy, have been arrested and charged with money laundering and operating a money transmitting business without a license. 

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Southern District of New York, announced the charges after conducting a detailed investigation.

According to the DOJ, Keonne Rodriguez and William Lonergan Hill, through their company Samourai Wallet, are alleged to have facilitated more than $2 billion in illegal transactions and laundered over $100 million in proceeds from criminal activities. 

These activities reportedly include transactions connected to illegal dark web markets and fraudulent schemes targeting decentralized finance protocols. 

The DOJ accuses the defendants of creating and operating a Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mixer that was used for large-scale money laundering.

IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Thomas Fattorusso stated:

$2 billion in transactions with an unlicensed money transmitter means $2 billion flowed without any oversight, from whomever to wherever. Because of the company’s disregard for regulation, it’s alleged that Samourai Wallet laundered more than $100 million in criminal proceeds. Special Agents with IRS:CI New York and IRS:CI LA’s Cyber units worked with our federal and international law enforcement partners to not only arrest the founders and CEO, but to also seize their domain. Samourai Wallet is now closed for business.

Law enforcement agencies collaborated to arrest Rodriguez and Hill. 

Rodriguez was detained in the Western District of Pennsylvania, and Hill was arrested in Portugal on U.S. criminal charges. The United States intends to request Hill's extradition to face trial.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: 

As alleged, Keonne Rodriguez and William Lonergan Hill are responsible for developing, marketing, and operating Samourai, a cryptocurrency mixing service that executed over $2 billion in unlawful transactions and served as a haven for criminals to engage in large-scale money laundering. Rodriguez and Hill allegedly knowingly facilitated the laundering of over $100 million of criminal proceeds from the Silk Road, Hydra Market, and a host of other computer hacking and fraud campaigns. Together with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to relentlessly pursue and dismantle criminal organizations that use cryptocurrency to hide illicit conduct.

Additionally, authorities in Iceland, in cooperation with other agencies, seized the web servers and domain of Samourai. 

A seizure warrant was also served on the Google Play Store for the Samourai Wallet mobile application, resulting in the app being unavailable for download in the United States.

FBI Assistant Director in Charge James Smith concluded: 

Threat actors utilize technology to evade law enforcement detection and create environments conducive to criminal activity. For almost 10 years, Keonne Rodriguez and William Hill allegedly operated a mobile cryptocurrency mixing platform which provided other criminals a virtual haven for the clandestine exchange of illicit funds, the facilitation of more than $2 billion in illegal transactions, and $100 million in dark web money laundering. The FBI is committed to exposing covert financial schemes and ensuring no one can hide behind a screen to perpetuate financial wrongdoing.
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