According to a Justice Department press release, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York just unsealed a four-count indictment against Soufiane Oulahyane. He's been charged for an alleged scheme to spoof the OpenSea marketplace, a leading platform for trading non-fungible tokens (NFTs), to steal cryptocurrency and NFTs. This incident, which occurred in September 2021, saw the defendant allegedly make off with about $450,000 worth of digital assets from a Manhattan-based victim. Currently, Oulahyane is in custody in Morocco facing foreign charges. Crypto Criminal Defense Blog

The Case Background: Spoofing, as defined by U.S. Attorney Damian Williams, is a classic cybercrime technique adapted to new-age digital assets like cryptocurrencies and NFTs. Spoofing involves impersonating a legitimate entity to trick unsuspecting victims, often redirecting them to a falsified website designed to capture their login credentials. In this case, Oulahyane allegedly spoofed the login page of the OpenSea marketplace. Utilizing paid advertisements on a popular search engine, the accused ensured his fake OpenSea website appeared at the top of search results. This duplicitous site, crafted to mimic the real OpenSea platform, was used to harvest the private login details of users. The unsuspecting victims' credentials were automatically forwarded to an email account under Oulahyane's control. 

The Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), officially known as the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act, was enacted by the United States Congress in 1970 as the first significant legislation to combat money laundering. The Act was designed to deter criminal activity by requiring financial institutions to maintain records of cash purchases and report certain transactions. Crypto Criminal Defense Blog 

In 2013, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the U.S. Treasury, declared that "administrators or exchangers" of virtual currency qualify as money services businesses (MSBs) under the BSA and FinCEN regulations. According to FinCEN's guidance document, an "exchanger" is defined as a person or entity engaged as a business in the exchange of virtual currency for real currency, funds, or other virtual currency. An "administrator" is a person or entity engaged as a business in issuing a virtual currency and who has the authority to redeem such currency. Application of FinCEN’s Regulations to Persons Administering, Exchanging, or Using Virtual Currencies

The BSA requires all MSBs, including those that exchange or transmit virtual currencies, to register with FinCEN. This requirement extends to any "person or entity engaged as a business in the exchange of virtual currency for real currency, funds, or other virtual currency." This means that cryptocurrency intermediaries, such as exchanges and wallet providers, are subject to the same regulatory requirements as traditional financial institutions. 

In today's global financial landscape, combating money laundering and ensuring customer due diligence are critical priorities for regulatory bodies and financial institutions. For member firms operating within the securities industry, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has established stringent guidelines to address these concerns. One of the key regulations is FINRA Rule 3310, which focuses on anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) compliance. This blog post will break down each section of Rule 3310 and explain its implications for member firms. Crypto Criminal Defense Blog 

Money laundering, defined broadly as disguising the illicit origins of criminally derived proceeds, has continued to pose a significant challenge for financial institutions across the globe. Often, these laundered funds are used to fuel further criminal activities, including financing terrorism. Given this context, financial firms, including those in the securities industry, are bound by various laws and regulations to prevent such activities and foster financial integrity.

In today’s blog post, I’d like to highlight the major aspects of anti-money laundering (AML) compliance, specifically in line with the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Rule 3310, and 31 C.F.R. § 1023.210. Crypto Criminal Defense Lawyer 


Effective January 1, 2024, digital asset transfers in excess of $10,000 will be subject to KYC and IRS reporting requirements under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Crypto Criminal Defense Blog Post 

June 2023 has shaped-up to be a pretty eventful month for crypto with the SEC filing lawsuits against the two largest cryptocurrency trading platforms in the world to multiple major TradFi firms filing Bitcoin ETF applications. And with Congress scheduled to finally vote on proposed digital asset legislation, July 2023 is also likely to bring more major crypto headlines. If the Bill makes it out of the House, then it will proceed to the Senate and if passed there, to the President’s desk for signature into law. If signed into the law, the Bill would finally bring long-awaited legislative clarity to the digital asset space.