Deependra Bhusal has been sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for his involvement in a crypto money laundering conspiracy in the Eastern District of Texas.
According to a press release published by the Department of Justice (DoJ), Bhusal was involved in a multi-year money laundering conspiracy that involved laundering funds from a multitude of scams.
Bhusal’s specific role was to open bank accounts and mailboxes which were then used to transact funds stolen from victims of the scams. Bhusal was also responsible for engaging in subsequent transactions to conceal the nature and source of the illicit funds.
Bhusal routinely structured these transactions in amounts under $10,000 to avoid flagging reporting requirements and raising attention from law enforcement agencies and regulators.
The DoJ said Bhusal was “personally responsible” for laundering over $1.4 million in criminal proceeds.
Bhusal did not act alone—two co-conspirators joined the Texas man.
On March 10, 2022, Lois Boyd, 75, and Manik Mehtani, 33—both from Virginia—were named in an indictment that charged them with money laundering, money laundering conspiracy, and violating the Travel Act.
While Bhusal faces just under four years in prison, his conspirators face much harsher sentences.
Both Boyd and Mehtani could spend up to 20 years in prison.
It is important to point out that a grand jury indictment is not evidence of guilt. “A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law,” the DoJ added in its press release.
Crypto and organized crime
Bhusal’s case is part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation, which has recently cracked down on other crypto-related crimes.
Two days ago, federal prosecutors in Miami seized $34 million worth of cryptocurrency in what was described as “one of the largest cryptocurrency forfeiture actions ever filed in the United States.”
According to the DoJ, law enforcement officials identified a South Florida resident “raking in millions” by selling stolen account information on the dark web from services like Netflix, HBO, and Uber.