KEENE, N.H. (WHDH) - Six people were arrested Tuesday following their indictment by a federal grand jury in New Hampshire on charges they participated in a conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business and other offenses, Acting New Hampshire United States Attorney John J. Farley announced.
Charged in the indictment are Ian Freeman (formerly Ian Bernard), 40, of Keene; Colleen Fordham, 60, of Alstead; Renee Spinella, 23, of Derry; Andrew Spinella, 35, of Derry; Nobody (formerly Richard Paul), 52, of Keene; and Aria DiMezzo (formerly James Baker), 34, of Keene.
Freeman, Fordham, Renee Spinella, Andrew Spinella, and Nobody also are charged with wire fraud and participating in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Ian Freeman is charged with money laundering and operating a continuing financial crimes enterprise. Freeman and DiMezzo also are charged with operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.
Federal prosecutors allege that since 2016, the defendants operated a business that enabled customers to exchange over $10 million in fiat currency for virtual currency, charging a fee for their service.
“They operated their virtual currency exchange business using websites, as well as operating virtual currency ATM machines in New Hampshire,” the FBI wrote in a release. “The indictment alleges that the defendants knowingly operated the virtual currency exchange business in violation of federal anti-money laundering laws and regulations. In furtherance of their scheme, the indictment alleges that some defendants opened bank accounts in the names of purported religious entities.”
All of the defendants are scheduled for initial appearances before a United States Magistrate Judge on Tuesday afternoon.
This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, and the United States Postal Inspection Service in coordination with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Georgiana L. MacDonald and Seth R. Aframe.
The charges in the indictment are only allegations. The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
#BREAKING: @FBIBoston, @IRS_CI, @USPIS_BOS special agents have arrested six individuals in NH for allegedly conspiring to operate an unlicensed virtual currency exchange business under the guise of a religious organization raising money for charity. https://t.co/iZAsxRrj4z
— FBI Boston (@FBIBoston) March 16, 2021
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