GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The previous president of The Geek Group, an academic facility that offered high-tech gear for college kids and inventors, has pleaded responsible associated to cash laundering and unlawful Bitcoin buying and selling.
Christopher Allan Boden, 46, of Grand Rapids, pleaded responsible Monday, Oct. 18, to cash laundering, working an unlicensed money-transmitting enterprise and structuring transactions to evade reporting requirement.
Two others just lately pleaded responsible to costs.
Govt Director Leesa Beth Vogt, 37, of Grand Rapids, pleaded responsible to structuring transactions to evade reporting requirement whereas marketing consultant Daniel Reynod DeJager, 35, of Tacoma, Washington, pleaded responsible to cash laundering and conspiracy to function an unlicensed money-transmitting enterprise, court docket information present.
Boden signed a plea settlement that mentioned he and his co-defendants operated an unlicensed money-transmitting enterprise. He would promote Bitcoin to prospects and supervised and directed others at The Greek Group to promote it.
Boden obtained Bitcoin – a cryptocurrency, primarily a pc file sometimes saved in a “digital pockets” – from DeJager, who purchased it from exchanges. The defendants offered over $740,000 in Bitcoin, the plea settlement mentioned.
“The defendant knew that a few of his prospects had been involving in shopping for and promoting managed substances, they usually offered these prospects bitcoin understanding that the money he obtained in return was derived from the sale of managed substances, or that the bitcoin could be used to buy managed substances,” Assistant U.S. Lawyer Justin Presant wrote within the plea settlement.
He mentioned that Boden despatched, or directed others to ship, U.S. foreign money, together with proceeds from Bitcoin gross sales, and recorded deposits in a Chase Checking account in Fb messages. The transactions had been stored under $10,000, an quantity that may set off a reporting requirement, the prosecutor mentioned.
“The defendant and DeJager typically ‘blended’ or ‘tumbled’ the bitcoin – that’s, they laundered it – earlier than promoting it,” Presant wrote within the plea settlement. They did that to “promote their unlicensed cash transmitting enterprise and to hide the origin of the bitcoin. The defendant would inform prospects that he offered ‘clear’ bitcoin that might not be traced to them, not like licensed exchanges, which the defendant mentioned offered ‘soiled’ bitcoin,” Presant wrote.
He mentioned that Boden and DeJager offered Bitcoin at The Geek Group to an undercover investigator for $15,000 in money. The investigator, in line with the plea settlement, mentioned the money was proceeds of cocaine gross sales, the plea settlement mentioned.
Over $100,000 was deposited over the course of the 12 months, the plea settlement mentioned.
Boden faces as much as 20 years in jail and has agreed to forfeit Bitcoin and $75,000, representing proceeds of the crime, the prosecutor mentioned. DeJager additionally faces as much as 20 years in jail whereas Vogt faces as much as 10 years.
They’re free on bond pending February sentencing hearings by U.S. District Choose Robert Jonker in Grand Rapids.
The defendants had been indicted in February after a prolonged investigation.
The Geek Group, often known as the Nationwide Science Institute, a registered non-profit group, offered instructional alternatives, together with use of high-tech gear for college kids, inventors and others.
The group would additionally hand out used computer systems for little or no value to youngsters whose households had been struggling.
The federal government raided the power – within the former West YMCA constructing at 902 Leonard St. NW – in December 2018. Two weeks later, the corporate introduced it was closed.
Within the days after the raid, Boden mentioned on Fb: “The issue is, we by no means discovered a approach to do it and make sufficient of a income to maintain it,” he wrote. “We tried, a few of us for many years, and in the end failed. We’ve been broke as a joke for years and stumbled by way of, however with the current PR hit by from being raided by 4 completely different Federal companies whereas being unable to truly inform individuals the reality about why, we’ve lastly hit the wall.”
He mentioned The Geek Group was a “dream” shared by organizers.
In saying the closing, he mentioned: “The Bohemian Brothers, that developed into the group known as GeNext!, that started the corporate known as The Geek Group, and ultimately The Nationwide Science Institute will formally shut down operations to the general public.”
Homeland Safety Investigations and IRS-Prison Investigation had been assisted by Grand Rapids police within the case.