Police Arrest Suspect in Bitcoin Exchange Scheme

Journalist:
Lester Coleman
April 24, 2016

Police arrested Michael Murgio in Palm Beach, Fla. for participating in a scheme to pay bribes to allow the Coin.mx bitcoin exchange gain control of a New Jersey credit union, according to Fortune. Prosecutors claim the scheme stole information on 100 million people.

Michael Murgio

Murgio, 65, who serves on a Palm Beach County, Fla. school board, was indicted in a federal court in Manhattan. He was indicted along with three others, including his son, Anthony Murgio.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested Murgio Thursday in Palm Beach, Fla. His attorney did not respond to requests for comment.

Murgio will be arraigned on Tuesday, April 26, in New York, where he will hear what the charges against him are, according to WPTV in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Coin.mx was owned by Gery Shalon, an Israeli accused of masterminding a hacking scheme with another Israeli, Ziv Orenstein, and Joshua Samuel Aaron, an American. Prosecutors claim the three operated a criminal enterprise that hacked into a dozen companies’ networks and stole personal information from more than 100 million people.

Prosecutors said records of more than 83 million JPMorgan customers were stolen.

A criminal enterprise

The Murgios are not accused of engaging in the hacking offenses, but they committed crimes with co-defendants Yuri Lebedev of Florida and Trevon Gross, a New Jersey pastor, in the unlicensed Coin.mx operation.

Starting in 2013, Anthony Murgio ran Coin.mx, which exchanged millions of dollars’ worth of bitcoin for customers, prosecutors said, while Lebedev supervised the computer programming functions.

In 2014, the Murgios and Lebedev gained control of an organization called Helping Other People Excel Federal Credit Union of Jackson, N.J. by paying $150,000 in bribes to its chairman, Gross, the indictment said. They allegedly did this to evade scrutiny of Coin.mx.

Anthony Murgio, Gross and Lebedev pled not guilty to the charges and are scheduled to face trial on Oct. 31. Anthony Murgio remained free on bond, CCN reported.

Extradition proceedings are pending in Israel against Orenstein and Shalon. Aaron remains at large and was believed to be in Eastern Europe as of November.

Featured image from Shutterstock and LinkedIn.

Last modified (UTC): April 24, 2016 16:26

Lester Coleman

Lester Coleman is a media relations consultant for the payments and automated retailing industries.