Bitcoin Mixing Service Samourai Wallet Founders Arrested, Charged With Money Laundering

In a significant development, Keonne Rodriguez and William Lonergan Hill, founders and CEO of the privacy-focused Bitcoin wallet and mixer, Samourai Wallet, have been arrested and charged with money laundering and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Southern District of New York, announced these charges today following an extensive investigation into their activities.

The charges stem from allegations that Rodriguez and Hill, through their company Samourai Wallet, facilitated over $2 billion in unlawful transactions and allegedly laundered more than $100 million in criminal proceeds. This activity primarily involved transactions from illegal dark web markets, as well as schemes to defraud decentralized finance protocols, the DOJ stated. The defendants are accused by the DOJ of developing, marketing, and operating a bitcoin and cryptocurrency mixer that provided a platform for criminals to engage in large-scale money laundering.

“$2 billion in transactions with an unlicensed money transmitter means $2 billion flowed without any oversight, from whomever to wherever. Because of the company’s disregard for regulation, it’s alleged that Samourai Wallet laundered more than $100 million in criminal proceeds,” stated IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Thomas Fattorusso. “Special Agents with IRS:CI New York and IRS:CI LA’s Cyber units worked with our federal and international law enforcement partners to not only arrest the founders and CEO, but to also seize their domain. Samourai Wallet is now closed for business.”

The coordinated effort by law enforcement agencies led to the arrests of Rodriguez and Hill. Rodriguez was apprehended in the Western District of Pennsylvania, while Hill was arrested in Portugal based on the U.S. criminal charges. The United States plans to seek Hill’s extradition to stand trial in the country.

“As alleged, Keonne Rodriguez and William Lonergan Hill are responsible for developing, marketing, and operating Samourai, a cryptocurrency mixing service that executed over $2 billion in unlawful transactions and served as a haven for criminals to engage in large-scale money laundering,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams. “Rodriguez and Hill allegedly knowingly facilitated the laundering of over $100 million of criminal proceeds from the Silk Road, Hydra Market, and a host of other computer hacking and fraud campaigns. Together with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to relentlessly pursue and dismantle criminal organizations that use cryptocurrency to hide illicit conduct.”

Furthermore, in collaboration with authorities in Iceland, Samourai’s web servers and domain were seized, along with a seizure warrant served on the Google Play Store for the Samourai Wallet mobile application. This action ensures that the application is no longer available for download in the United States.

FBI Assistant Director in Charge James Smith concluded: “Threat actors utilize technology to evade law enforcement detection and create environments conducive to criminal activity. For almost 10 years, Keonne Rodriguez and William Hill allegedly operated a mobile cryptocurrency mixing platform which provided other criminals a virtual haven for the clandestine exchange of illicit funds, the facilitation of more than $2 billion in illegal transactions, and $100 million in dark web money laundering. The FBI is committed to exposing covert financial schemes and ensuring no one can hide behind a screen to perpetuate financial wrongdoing.”


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