Anthony Murgio, a Florida man charged with operating an illegal bitcoin exchange owned by the ringleader of a group of hackers that are accused of stealing millions of dollars from major banks, pleaded not guilty to money laundering in a Manhattan court room Tuesday, according to Bloomberg. Murgio also pleaded not guilty to running an illegal bitcoin exchange, wire fraud and conspiracy.
U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan set an Oct. 31 trial date for Murgio, who remains free on bond.
Murgio was not charged as part of the group accused of hacking information on over 100 million customers of banks and publishing firms and making hundreds of millions of dollars in illicit proceeds from online gambling and pump-and-dump schemes.
Prosecutors charged Murgio, who operated the Coin.mx bitcoin exchange, with laundering proceeds from a global network stretching from Israel to the U.S.
Authorities arrested Murgio and Yuri Lebedev in July after a Manhattan U.S. Attorney charged them with running an unlicensed Internet bitcoin exchange, CNN reported at the time. The pair was accused of operating through a front company and, at times, a federal credit union that Murgio allegedly acquired for purposes of the scheme.
Murgio was believed to be the main proprietor behind Coin.mx, according to Buzzfeed. However, an indictment unsealed earlier this month claims that an Israeli associate, Gery Shalon, owns Coin.mx.
Shalon is the alleged ringleader of the massive hack that compromised the information of 100 million customers at financial services companies — including 83 million JP Morgan customers. He and two other men are charged in a hacking scheme that may have netted hundreds of millions in illicit profits. Joshua Samuel Aaron, one of the three, is a former college classmate of Murgio’s at Florida State University.
The massive bank hack marks one of the biggest thefts of customer data ever.
Authorities claim that Shalon, Aaron, and Ziv Orenstein reaped hundreds of millions of dollars in illicit profits.
Shalon was arrested in July along with Orenstein in Israel. Both are awaiting extradition. Aaron remains at large is believed to be hiding in Eastern Europe. The FBI has posted a Most Wanted alert for Aaron on its website.
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