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Author Topic: Bit coin ruling  (Read 200 times)

WithoutAPaddle

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Bit coin ruling
« on: July 27, 2016, 06:16 AM NHFT »

From ABA Journal

Judge rules bitcoin isn't money, tosses money laundering charges
POSTED JUL 26, 2016 08:00 AM CDT

BY DEBRA CASSENS WEISS


A Miami judge has found that bitcoin isn’t the same as money and tossed criminal charges against a man accused of selling $1,500 worth of the virtual currency to undercover agents.

Judge Teresa Mary Pooler ruled (PDF) on Monday that bitcoin isn’t money, the Miami Herald reports.

As a result, Pooler said, defendant Michell Abner Espinoza wasn’t operating an unlicensed money-services business. “The court is not an expert in economics, however, it is very clear, even to someone with limited knowledge in the area, the bitcoin has a long way to go before it the equivalent of money,” Pooler wrote.

Pooler also ruled there was insufficient evidence that Espinoza committed the crime of money laundering. He was accused of selling bitcoin to federal agents who said they were going to use the currency to buy stolen credit-card numbers.

The state statute requires those charged to intend to promote illegal activity, but the word promote “is troublingly vague,” Pooler wrote. “There is unquestionably no evidence that the defendant did anything wrong, other than sell his bitcoin to an investigator who wanted to make a case,” Pooler wrote.

The case is believed to be the first money-laundering prosecution involving bitcoin and was “closely watched in tech, financial and legal circles,” according to the Miami Herald.

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The more comprehensive article from which the above was abstracted can be found here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article91682102.html

Note that this ruling is by a trial judge, hearing a case under Florida State law.  It is not on point to any cases involving similar charges in other states or under Federal law, and is probably not even cite-able as precedent within the Florida Circuit Court system.  This trial judge's ruling leaves open the possibility that the Florida Legislature could amend the statute so as to make it applicable to, and enforceable in, this situation.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 09:59 PM NHFT by WithoutAPaddle »
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KBCraig

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Re: Bit coin ruling
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2016, 09:44 PM NHFT »

What the judge really said, is that the government can't have it both ways: it's either money, or it's not, and they can't pick the definition that suits their case.
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