Former Shreveport Chiropractor And Son Plead Guilty For Illegal Bitcoin Exchange
A former Shreveport chiropractor and his son were arrested and have pleaded guilty in an unlawful Bitcoin scheme.
A Bitcoin is a digital asset and payment system used across the internet. They are, for the most part, untraceable. Because of the anonymity that Bitcoins provide, they are attractive to criminals in the black market to trade for drugs and illegal activities.
According to a press release from the US Attorney's Office, these two men had been using Bitcoins for a wide variety of illegal activities.
Randall Bryan Lord, 58, and his son, Michael Aaron Lord, 29, both of Shreveport, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. They pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money servicing business. In addition, Michael Lord pleaded guilty to one count of drug conspiracy for agreeing to distribute controlled dangerous substances to include alprazolam, a Schedule IV controlled substance. According to the guilty plea, from at least 2013 to 2015, the defendants were accepting currency, money orders and money paks and exchanging those funds for bitcoin, a decentralized form of electronic or digital currency, existing entirely on the Internet and not in any physical form. Contrary to law, the Lords were not registered with FinCEN or licensed to operate as a money service business with the State of Louisiana. The Lords also failed to report the receipt of more than $10,000 in U.S. currency. Also, beginning in March 2015, Michael Lord was involved in a drug conspiracy to distribute alprazolam.
The defendants face five years in prison for the conspiracy count, and Michael Lord faces five years in prison for the drug count. They also face three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date of August 1, 2016 was set.
The investigations was conducted by the IRS, FBI, U.S. Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations and U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cytheria D. Jernigan is prosecuting the case.