Doctor Bitcoin, Jailed For Selling Bitcoin P2P, Warns Others

Doctor Bitcoin, Jailed For Selling Bitcoin P2P, Warns Others
  • On September 5, Hopkins announced via his Twitter account that he would be reporting to the Beaumont Federal Correctional Institute “for the crime of selling #Bitcoin a few years ago.”
  • In 2019, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a federal bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, published 18 USC 1960, which requires that the now well-known “money transmitters’ license” be obtained by those who wish to sell bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to the public, with a suggested penalty of up to five years’ imprisonment for selling bitcoin without obtaining the license. This is the crime that Hopkins said he is now serving time for, but selling bitcoin is not the activity that originally caught the attention of federal law enforcement.
  • Hopkins reports that one of his past clients was under observation for suspected participation in a Nigerian lottery scam. The buyer originally told Hopkins that she was buying bitcoin “for her husband’s electronic repair business” (he believed her at the time), although she later told investigators that she was herself “being catfished by a Nigerian,” according to Hopkins.
  • Charitably described by Hopkins as “an unsophisticated user,” he not only sold bitcoin to this client on around 20 separate occasions, he also patiently aided and educated her in best custody practices, as well as how to not “trigger” banking problems by using specific terms which could result in closure of her bank account (which is a fairly common occurrence and known concern for Bitcoin enthusiasts, particularly at that time). According to Hopkins, Prosecutors later disingenuously charged him with teaching this woman “how to commit bank fraud.”
  • On suspicion of Hopkins somehow being “a kingpin in a lottery scam” because of the amounts of money “flowing to” him, Hopkins’ family home was subjected to a raid by “15 armed agents, who waved guns and search warrants…” and who confiscated over $60,000 worth of his personal property, Hopkins said.
  • “You can see very clearly there’s an uptick” in prosecuting 18 USC 1960 cryptocurrency-related crimes, he said. And the targeting of those to charge or prosecute is “moving away from major case crimes. The Department of Justice,” Hopkins maintained, holds “clinics on how to apply the law more liberally.”
  • “If we … do not demand from our government that they change this law and the application of it, given time they can come after every one of us,” Hopkins added.