Liberty Reserve co-founder sentenced to 10 years in prison
In November, 2013, Kats plead guilty to “money laundering and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business”.
Commenting on the plea at the time, Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman and U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated
Vladimir Kats, by his own admission, helped to create and operate an anonymous digital currency system that provided cybercriminals and others with the means to launder criminal proceeds on an unprecedented scale.
As a co-founder and operator of Liberty Reserve, Vladimir Kats served as a global banker for criminals, giving them an anonymous, online forum to hide the proceeds of their illegal and dangerous activities.
Kats’ sentencing hearing finally came up yesterday, with U.S. District Judge Denise Cote sentencing him to 10 years in prison.
Kats was facing a minimum twenty-seven year sentence, however due to his cooperaton in the case, ‘prosecutors urged Judge Cote to sentence (him) to less‘.
That help included giving agents the password to encrypted child pornography on his hard drive.
Kats’ cooperation also saw him give evidence against fellow Liberty Reserve co-founder, Arthur Budovsky.
U.S. District Judge Denise Cote said at Kats’s sentencing in Manhattan that she needed to balance his “extraordinarily important” cooperation with the government’s prosecution of Budovsky against the criminal activity that he had made his life’s work.
Kats’ lawyers requested a three year sentence, meaning with time already served Kats would be released. Judge Cote however was having none of it.
In addition to ten years in prison, Kats was also sentenced to five years probation and a forfeiture order for $6.5 million dollars.
Kats’ partner in crime, Budovski, was last week sentenced to twenty years in prison.
Also on Friday, Cote sentenced Azzedine El Amine, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to conspiracy for his role as Kats’s and Budovsky’s deputy, to the time he’s already served.
The judge ordered him released from custody. El Amine also cooperated with the government.
To the best of my knowledge that’s all of them, so this is the end of the road for Liberty Reserve.
What a fitting conclusion to the one of the MLM underbelly’s most notorious darlings.
Here’s to the next payment processor who thinks they’re above the law… *coughcough*SolidTrustPay*coughcough*