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Reginald Fowler has been sentenced to 75 months in prison for his role in facilitating over $750 million worth of crypto transactions through unregulated shadow banking services to the crypto industry, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York.
Fowler, who formerly co-owned the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, is also serving time for violating U.S. money laundering laws, lying to U.S. banks, and defrauding the Alliance of American Football (AAF).
Fowler’s criminal enterprise began back in 2018 when he established Global Trading Solutions LLC (GTS), a payments processor that was ostensibly established to provide Israeli blockchain businesses—collectively known in the case as “Crypto Companies”—with a means of exchanging fiat for crypto.
However, since the banks were reluctant to handle crypto transactions, GTS and its affiliated “Crypto Companies” lied to open accounts and process crypto transactions.
Fowler opened dozens of accounts across the world without disclosing the connection between GTS and the companies involved, processing a staggering $750 million in unlicensed transactions over ten months—despite not having the requisite money-transmitting license.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams condemned Fowler, saying he “exposed the U.S. financial system to serious risk” by lying to the banks.
Fowler pleaded guilty to fraud in April 2022.
Fowler’s ties to Tether, Bitfinex
This isn’t the first time Fowler’s name has come up in connection with a nine-figure discrepancy of dubious legality.
In 2019, the New York Attorney General’s office pinned Fowler’s Crypto Capital enterprise to a controversial transaction from the Bitfinex exchange.
According to the Attorney General’s office, Bitfinex allegedly attempted to paper over an $850 million hole in its balance sheet by helping itself to funds backing the popular eponymous dollar-pegged stablecoin Tether—which shares a parent company with Bitfinex—without informing investors.
For its part, Bitfinex claims the money was deposited with Fowler’s payments processor and then seized by law enforcement in the U.S., Poland, and Portugal.