Gordon Beckstead’s BitClub Network money laundering plea
As per a chargesheet filed on March 24th, Gordon Brad Beckstead helped BitClub Network scammers launder “millions of dollars”.
Before he got into investing in Ponzi schemes and money laundering, Beckstead, a resident of Nevada who professionally goes by Brad Beckstead, worked as a CPA.
In that role Beckstead claims to have
- audited over 100 publicly traded companies
- worked on SEC rules and regulation compliance; and
- designed and implemented accounting systems, targeting SEC compliance in the US.
Based in Las Vegas, Nevada, Brad is a licensed CPA in the State of Nevada since 1995. He is also a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), is Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC), and has achieved the AICPA’s certification in International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).
Brad’s audit firm, Beckstead & Company, CPAs, is registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), as a specialist in the audits of smaller public companies and private companies anticipating registration with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
So where did it all go wrong?
One of Beckstead’s clients was BitClub Network co-founder Matt Goettsche (right).
That relationship eventually led to Beckstead becoming a BitClub Network investor. Along the way the German shell company “Bitchain GmbH” was created.
As they say, the rest is history.
BECKSTEAD was associated with various corporate entities controlled by Goettsche, some of which were used to maintain accounts at banks.
Beckstead’s chargesheet cites seven money laundering entities, one of which is Bitchain GmbH, and six banks.
The Goettsche Entities were “shell” companies, lacking any actual economic function or business operation and were established to anonymize control of the bank accounts and to disguise and conceal the nature, source, and ownership of Goettsche’s income and ownership of assets.
Goettsche, BECKSTEAD, and others used the Goettsche Entities to shield Goettsche from any association with BCN and to disguise income derived by Goettsche through his operation of BCN.
BECKSTEAD directed and authorized transfers exceeding $50 million to and from the Entity Accounts.
Making use of his accounting background, Beckstead also assisted Goettsche with filing at least one fraudulent return.
A cited 2017 return omitted $16 million in BitClub Network earnings, seeing Goettsche dodge a $5 million tax bill that year.
In 2018 Beckstead assisted Goettsche with another dodgy return, this time omitting $49 million in BitClub Network earnings.
The DOJ has charged Beckstead with
- money laundering conspiracy;
- aiding in the preparation of a false tax return; and
- aiding in the preparation of a false tax return.
Beckstead was arrested on March 24th. He waived prosecution by indictment and pled guilty to all three counts later that same day.
Beckstead was released on $100,000 bond, with a sentencing hearing scheduled for August 9th.
The money laundering conspiracy charge to which Beckstead pleaded guilty carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $500,000, or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater.
The tax charge to which Beckstead pleaded guilty carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a fine of $100,000.
Matt Goettsche and his BitClub Network co-conspirators were indicted in 2019.
In September 2020 Goettsche rejected a plea deal. It is as of yet unclear whether the conviction of his personal accountant will change his tune.
Due to ongoing discussions with the DOJ, on March 31st Goettsche’s criminal case was continued till July 31st.