A Software Engineer Was Sentenced to 16 Months in Prison for a Bitcoin Exchange Scheme

According to Nicholas Biase, a spokesperson for federal prosecutors, Alison Nathan, a U.S. District Judge in Manhattan sentenced Yuri Lebedev, a Florida software engineer to 16 months in prison on Friday after he was found to be guilty of scheming to help an illegal bitcoin exchange dodge having regulators and banks look into its activities

Coin.mx, the bitcoin exchange that was involved in the case, was connected to an investigation regarding a data breach at JPMorgan Chase & Co that was revealed in 2014, that exposed over 83 million accounts.

“We are dismayed that Mr. Lebedev has been sentenced to prison,” said Eric Creizman, Lebedev’s lawyer, in an email. Guideline on federal sentencing called for a maximum of 97 months.

Lebedev along with a New Jersey pastor named Trevon Gross was convicted in March.

Prosecutors indicted that Lebedev assisted in arranging bribes to Gross, such as $150,000 in donations to Gross’ church. In exchange, prosecutors said, Gross helped Anthony Murgio, the operator of Coin.mx, take over a small credit union that Gross operated from his church.

Prosecutors said that Murgio used the credit union to bypass scrutiny of banks that are wary of processing payments that involve the virtual currency. Lebedev was charged with working for Coin.mx via a front called “Collectables Club.”

Gross is set to be sentenced later this month. In January, Murgio pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison in June.

The trial followed an investigation that was established in the JPMorgan data breach, which resulted in charges against nine people.

Lebedev, Murgio, and Gross were not accused of hacking. However, prosecutors said that Coin.mx was owned by Gary Shalon, an Israeli who was behind the JPMorgan hack.

Prosecutors have stated that Shalon, with the help of Maryland-born Joshua Samuel Aaron, organised cyberattacks that lead to the theft of information from over 100 million people.

Prosecutors said that they conducted the hacks to facilitate other schemes with Ziv Orenstein, another Israeli, including elevating stock prices with promotional emails.

Aaron, Orenstein, and Shalon pleaded not guilty to criminal charges.