In a declaration, the Manhattan DA declared that in between January 2018 and August 2021, the 42-year-old Spieker transformed over $2.3 million into Bitcoin, and independently, more than $380,000 of Bitcoin into U.S. dollars, by means of “a rotating set of accomplices” who opened bank and crypto exchange accounts to make it possible for the laundering of “criminal proceeds.”
“As alleged, this sprawling web of international money laundering helped drug traffickers, an organized crime ring, and scammers hide their criminal activity and transmit their proceeds around the globe,” New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg stated in the statement. “This case reveals us how brand-new innovations like cryptocurrency can end up being essential motorists of a vast array of criminal activity that can quickly cover around the world.”
Dustin Sites, 32, whom the DA says aided Spieker in the scheme, faces one count of unlicensed money transmission. Several of Spieker’s clients, whom the Manhattan DA also investigated, face charges on running an illegal drug marketplace on the dark web and an identify theft scheme, the latter of which allegedly victimized 30 people.
The complaint alleges that in 2014 Spieker began researching the phrase “bitcoin cash laundering” in Google searches, and that he wrote a Facebook post saying that his services were for individuals “who wished to remain totally off the radar,” with an understanding that they were engaged in illegal activity.
Spieker and three three proxies, including Sites, allegedly met with clients who handed them cash in exchange for Bitcoin, or “vice-versa,” and collected a 4% to 12% fee. Spieker and his accomplices allegedly opened 28 bank accounts and eight cryptocurrency exchange accounts.
Ricky Patel, the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York agent overseeing the investigation, said in the announcement that Spieker had “honestly extolled laundering illegal earnings.”