A joint investigation by the FBI’s Money Laundering Squad and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations led to a 75-month prison sentence for 64-year-old Arizona entrepreneur Reginald Fowler.
A former co-owner of the professional American football team Minnesota Vikings, Fowler has also been asked by the court to pay a forfeiture of $74.02 million and restitution of $5.31 million to the Association of American Football (AAF), a short-lived American football minor league.
The prosecution was led by the United States Attorney’s Office’s Money Laundering and Transnational Criminal Enterprises Unit.
Offering Shadow Banking Services
Damian Williams, US Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York (SDNY)) in a PR on June 5, said Fowler processed nearly $750 million of transactions for cryptocurrency exchanges acting as a payment processor while his company Global Trading Solution did not have a license for money transmitting business as required by the US federal laws. While doing so, he also lied to US banks.
“FOWLER also directed other individuals to include false information on wire transfer instructions to further deceive banks about the nature of GTS’s business. In less than ten months, FOWLER processed approximately $750 million in cryptocurrency transactions in various currencies,” the PR from Attorney’s office said.
Defrauding American Football League
He was also found guilty of defrauding the Association of American Football, in which he acquired a significant stake by investing customers’ funds claiming them to be his personal wealth.
“As he did when opening bank accounts, FOWLER lied to AAF executives, telling them that the funds in the GTS bank accounts derived from real estate investments as well as government contracts and that the tens of millions of dollars in the GTS accounts were liquid assets he could use to invest in the AAF,” Williams said.
In part, due to Fowler’s lies, the AAF declared bankruptcy in April 2019.
Catching Up with Crypto Crimes
Given the rising number of cryptocurrency-related crime and fraud cases, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) formed the “National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team” in September 2022. Cybersecurity prosecutor Eun Young Choi heads the team of 150 prosecutors.
In May, a Russian man was charged by the DoJ with being part of three ransomware gangs that netted nearly $200 million through various ransomware attacks targeting police departments, hospitals, and schools.