Noblesville man has millions seized in alleged cryptocurrency case

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Hamilton County man Maximiliano Pilipis is in federal custody in Florida.

As of Tuesday night, I-Team 8 didn’t know what specific charges he faces, but, in November, the government seized more than $9 million from two separate bank accounts.

Court filings allege Pilipis illegally operated a cryptocurrency exchange company in the small Caribbean country of Dominica.

Professor Frank Emmert at the IU McKinney School of Law said, “We have been very active in pursuing offshore business, and this is a case in a long, long, list of cases.”

Emmert analyzed the 20-page court filing that seized the money from Pilipis. He told I-Team 8 the seizure boiled down to Pilipis not registering his company with a government agency called FinCEN.

“It stands for the Financial Crimes and Enforcement Network. Their job primarily, but not exclusively, is to prevent money laundering and tax evasion basically. The Treasury wants to make sure that, on the one hand, our businesses and our citizens pay their taxes, our residents pay their taxes properly, and, on the other hand, that money is not used for crime. For example, terrorist financing or anything like that.”

The federal court filing to seize the money has several diagrams in it that detail how Pilipis moved cryptocurrency around from account to account. The filing said the transactions are money laundering because the money he was moving came from his business that was operating illegally.

Emmert said he would need to analyze official criminal charges to determine if Pilipis laundered money.
“Did he do any money laundering himself? Did he funnel funds to whatever organization for illegal purposes? We don’t know that, but he made it possible for others to do that, for people who were actually registering their wallets and trading through his exchange, and that’s really what he’s in trouble for right now.”

Pilipis was scheduled on Friday to be in federal court in Florida. I-Team 8 will follow the hearing to find out what charges Pilipis could face.

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