Fort Lauderdale Cryptocurrency Defense Attorney
Florida Bitcoin Fraud Lawyers Proudly Defending Broward County
The allure of cryptocurrency has grown as virtual currency has become more mainstream in recent years. Although major corporations like Microsoft accept Bitcoin as a form of payment, and in Florida there are even some real estate transactions that have taken place using virtual currency, governments have become increasingly concerned about the potential for cryptocurrency to be used to fund illegal activities. For people who engage in crimes that involve the exchange of money, virtual currencies are attractive because they are more difficult for uninvolved parties to track than the various ways in which we exchange standard currency. As more people are beginning to explore the world of Bitcoin governments have responded by further defining the law to prohibit the use of the virtual coins in certain activities. Those who face criminal cryptocurrency-related charges in Fort Lauderdale or elsewhere in Broward County are best served retaining the services of a Florida Bitcoin fraud defense attorney immediately after being charged.
In 2017, Florida addressed the growing popularity of cryptocurrency and its potential to be used for crime by passing a bill that prohibits the use of virtual currencies in laundering the proceeds of criminal activity. The bill added virtual currencies to the definition of “monetary instruments” in the state’s Money Laundering Act. The act defines virtual currencies as “a medium of exchange in electronic or digital format that is not a coin or currency in the United States or any other country.” Many consider the bill to be a direct legislative response the the decision by the 11th Circuit Court in Florida v. Espinoza in which the court held that Michael Espinoza was not guilty of money laundering because Bitcoin did not meet the the definition of “currency” as described in the state’s Money Laundering Act at the time of the case.
Bank Secrecy Act
Also known as the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act, the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 (BSA) requires financial institutions in the United States to help the government detect and prevent money laundering, tax evasion, and other finance-related criminal activities. In the cryptocurrency space, parties who are identified as “exchangers” of virtual currencies are regulated by the BSA. However, ambiguity remains in many cases when determining who would be considered an exchanger by law. Therefore governments continue to work to further define the relationship between crypocurrency and the BSA. Individuals who suspect they may be vulnerable to investigation for Bitcoin transactions should contact a Fort Lauderdale cryptocurrency defense attorney to learn more about the current treatment of virtual currency cases under federal and Florida law.
Florida requires businesses and individuals who receive currency or payment instruments for the purpose of transmission to become a licensed money transmitter. In 2014, a Florida court ruled that individual Bitcoin dealers may be considered money transmitters under state law. The judge stated the defendant acted illegally by selling Bitcoin totaling $30,000 in value to undercover officers. The case marked the first time individual cryptocurrency dealers were recognized as money transmitters despite the ambiguity that surrounded virtual currencies’ status versus real currency. A Broward County cryptocurrency defense attorney can help individuals who are accused of illegally transmitting virtual currency determine whether they should rightfully be treated as a money transmitter under Florida law.
Government-issued, or fiat, currency is traditionally stored and transferred by banks and financial institutions that are governed by an extensive set of laws and regulations. Because cryptocurrency is new and decentralized, regulating custodians to ensure safe, secure, and legal transfer of virtual currencies remains an issue for governments. Therefore, business is very lucrative for third-party crypto custodians who are tasked with securing crypto coins from security threats, including hackers who seek to intercept transactions. Cryptocurrency custodians are generally considered money transmitters; therefore, they are expected to comply with the laws that govern entities that have traditionally engaged in the transfer of standard currency. Custodians who are uncertain of whether their activities qualify as requiring a money transmitter license should immediately contact a Fort Lauderdale cryptocurrency defense lawyer as the penalties for illegally exchanging and transferring virtual currency may be severe. Nevertheless, an attorney can help determine the best legal options for avoiding penalty and, if necessary, bringing the business into compliance.
Bitcoin tax evasion
Once thought of as a super tax haven, cryptocurrency has recently come under heightened scrutiny of the IRS. Major cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase announced that it would turn over tax information to the IRS on traders who conducted transactions totaling $20,000 or more. Of the 14,000 people who used Coinbase to buy, sell, send, or receive $20,000 or more, only 800 to 900 are reported to have declared related gains on their taxes for 2017. In light of the tremendous gains the top three crypto coins made in 2017, more than 10,000 people may be accused of tax evasion as a result of not reporting related income. A knowledgeable Ft Lauderdale Bitcoin fraud lawyer can help people who find themselves under examination by the IRS for tax evasion.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale cryptocurrency defense attorney
Because virtual currency is new swiftly growing in popularity in the state of Florida and around the world, people who are simply looking to make an investment may not even be aware that their activities may be illegal. A qualified Fort Lauderdale cryptocurrency defense attorney can help individuals understand how the current tax evasion and money laundering laws relate to Bitcoin and help accused individuals establish their innocence or mitigate the impact of unknowingly behaving outside the scope of the law. Crypto defense attorneys are available to provide a free, confidential case evaluation to help concerned crypto traders better understand the legal implications of their situation and determine the best approach to defending their case. With brand new, technology-driven areas of the law comes uncharted legal territory. Therefore, those who find themselves in a questionable position with virtual currencies require the help of an attorney who is fully abreast on the most recent positions courts and legislatures have taken to regulate the cryptocurrency space. When choosing a cryptocurrency defense lawyer, the best option is an attorney who has a proven track record as a Florida defense attorney in combination with the requisite tech savvy for appropriately handling cases in this newly-emerging, rapidly growing sector. With monetary fines and possible prison time on the line, those who are accused of white collar crypto crimes simply cannot afford to settle for less when it comes to consulting with a Broward County cryptocurrency fraud lawyer.