Criminal Gang Member Jailed After Laundering $2.6 Million For Bitcoin ATM Fraudsters

Criminal Gang Member Jailed After Laundering $2.6 Million For Bitcoin ATM Fraudsters

A criminal who laundered £2 million ($2.6 million) for a group that defrauded victims using cryptocurrency ATMs has been jailed.

Bazyli Rymarz, 22, was jailed for five years, nine months after being convicted of money laundering. Rymarz was arrested in January 2020 after he was caught driving a £130,000 ($172,000) Bentley Bentayga through the port of Dover with €6,500 ($7,300) in cash in a bag.

He was found to have laundered $2.6 million between September 2018 and January 2020 on behalf of criminal associates who used a network of cryptocurrency ATMs as part of a fraud scheme. The group’s scam involved convincing victims that they owed money to British authorities, then directing them to pay the funds using crypto ATMs; the funds were then appropriated by the group.

​​"No evidence was found that Rymarz was personally involved in these frauds, but investigations showed the extent of his involvement in the group which laundered the criminal money,” Kent Police said in a press release.

A jail term has been imposed on a man who was part of a network which laundered criminal [email protected]_police, @_ERSOU and other forces investigated after he was repeatedly found in possession of large amounts of money.Details here... https://t.co/gpVJHdhLPT pic.twitter.com/aW9asbIQhE— Kent Police (UK) (@kent_police) December 20, 2021

Rymarz was also found to be linked to Wedso Ltd, a UK registered entity that failed to register for VAT, and that also paid no corporation tax on its funds.

Rymarz’s lavish lifestyle

Rymarz’s hefty wad of cash on the day of his arrest was not the only time he was caught with ill-gotten wealth.

In March 2019, he was caught with £10,500 ($14,000) in cash at Luton Airport, one of London’s largest airports.

In October 2019, £38,000 ($50,600) and €13,600 ($15,300) was found in Rymarz’s car after he was stopped for speeding. Following his arrest in Dover, law enforcement found yet another £5,400 ($7,100) and €8,200 ($9,200) in his Watford home. He was charged with money laundering offences but absconded after being released on bail, before being tracked down to Bologna, Italy.

“The seizure and forfeiture of funds that have been derived from unlawful conduct is key to disrupting the continuing cycle of criminality,” said Paul Fitzsimmons, from the Eastern Region Special Operation Unit’s Financial Investigations Team.

“We will continue to make maximum use of all available legislation to ensure that no-one profits from being involved in crime,” he added.

Bitcoin ATM scams

Bitcoin ATMs are of growing concern to law enforcement around the world. Last month, the FBI issued a warning against fraudulent schemes similar to that employed by Rymarz's associates, stating that the bureau "has seen an increase in scammers directing victims to use physical cryptocurrency ATMs and digital QR codes to complete payment transactions."

The FBI noted that such scams include online impersonation schemes, romance schemes and lotteries; what they all have in common is that the victim is directed to a crypto ATM, often one that advertises anonymity. “These cryptocurrency ATMs may be non-compliant with U.S. federal regulations and may facilitate money laundering,” the FBI said, noting that instructions to use these anonymous crypto ATMs are “a significant indicator of fraud.”

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