Two Face Trial over Bitcoin Exchange Linked to JPMorgan Hack Probe

Journalist:
Rebecca Campbell
February 13, 2017

A Florida software engineer and a New Jersey pastor are expected to face trial connected to the Coin.mx bitcoin exchange investigation and a security breach at JPMorgan Chase & Co, reports Reuters.

According to the report, jury selection is set to start in Manhattan federal court for Yuri Lebedev, the suspected planner behind Coin.mx’s platform, and Trevon Gross, a pastor and ex-chairman of a now-defunct credit union.

Lebedev is suspected of misleading financial institutions into processing transactions for bitcoin exchange Coin.mx, which was unlicensed. He is also alleged to have taken part in bribing Gross to gain control over the credit union to help the digital currency exchange.

Both men have pleaded not guilty.

The men facing trial are among nine other people who also face charges after being linked to a security breach at JPMorgan in 2014 that saw over 100 million customers’ account information hacked.

Last month Anthony Murgio, who is believed to have operated Coin.mx, pleaded guilty to conspiring to operate an illicit bitcoin exchange. He is expected to be sentenced in June. He was not charged as part of the group accused of the JPMorgan hacking breach, as reported previously by CCN.

According to Reuters, Lebedev attended Florida State University with Murgio. While Murgio is alleged to have run Coin.mx, the bitcoin exchange belonged to an Israeli behind the JPMorgan hack, Gery Shalon.

Prosecutors say that it was Shalon, along with Joshua Samuel Aaron, who masterminded the 2014 breach, which resulted in the theft of more than 100 million account information. Another Israeli, called Ziv Orenstein is also alleged to been involved in carrying out cybercrimes. All three have pleaded not guilty.

Those involved in Coin.mx are reported to have operated through a front known as the ‘Collectables Club’ to deceive financial institutions into thinking it was a memorabilia club. Instead, the bitcoin exchange was converting the millions of dollars it was receiving into bitcoin with no license.

However, in a bid to evade suspicion, in 2014, Murgio, with Lebedev’s assistance, attempted to acquire an organization called Helping Other People Excel Federal Credit Union of Jackson, N.J., and bribed its pastor, Trevon Gross.

Prosecutors state that they paid $150,000 in bribes through the church to Gross, in exchange for helping Murgio’s takeover and arranging for Lebedev and other members to be placed on the credit union’s board.

Gross’ lawyers deny this and say that the Collectables Club victimized the board.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Rebecca Campbell