Bitcoin Laundering Charges Dismissed by Miami Judge
Bitcoin is Not Money
Bitcoin is not money, that is according to Miami Judge Teresa Mary Pooler as she dismissed the case about money laundering against Michell Espinoza, who was accused of laundering and selling the said Cryptocurrency illegally. According to the detectives, the currency was sold even the accused know the fact that it will be used for unlawful activity. After listening to the arguments, Miami-Dade Circuit, Judge Pooler dismissed the case. The law about laundering can’t be used for Bitcoin, since Bitcoin is not money, that’s her verdict. She even added that this virtual currency has a long way to go to be considered as money or an equal to gold.
Michell Espinoza Bitcoin Laundering Case was Become Popular and Closely Watched
Since this is the very first time that people are hearing a case against Bitcoin in a money laundering activities, it was closely watched by the tech and financial circles across the globe. Michell Espinoza was charged with laundering $1500 value of Bitcoins and with transmitting it illegally. Espinoza sold it to the group of undercover detectives and they have told him that they will use the virtual money to purchase credit-card numbers that are stolen. However, Judge Pooler ruled that Bitcoin was not in any way backed up by any banks or by the government and it was not considered as a tangible wealth since it can’t be hidden under a mattress just like gold bars and cash. The judge has written her order and she said:
“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,”
The lady judge also added that money laundering law is too vague to apply to Bitcoin case.
Bitcoin is more of a Property to the Eye of Judge Pooler than a Currency
She has written that the court will not punish a person for selling his property. With this statement the judge look on Bitcoin as a property and the accused is just selling it and there’s no illegal activity that is happening between the buying and selling.
The Ruling After-Effect to Bitcoin
Bitcoin experts praised the ruling and they believe that this will encourage the use of the virtual currency and this gives a roadmap to the government of different countries that has a problem understanding Bitcoin and how they can regulate it.
The ruling has greatly influenced by the defense expert Charles Evans. Evans is an economics professor at Barry University and he testified in May at the hearing about Bitcoin isn’t an actual money. He said that it is like a poker chip which people wants to buy from you. This virtual currency expert’s defense testimony has been paid Bitcoins valuing $3000.
The judge’s verdict will lead to tweaking Florida law. Judge Pooler said that the law about money laundering needs to be updated. Furthermore, she said that she is hoping that the appellate court of the Florida Legislature will define the law which states “promote” illegal activities. Defining the word “promote” will keep innocent people from being arrested.