Lobbyist Abramoff Charged in Cryptocurrency Fraud Case


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Jack Abramoff, a once-powerful lobbyist who spent time in federal prison for fraud and corruption, has been charged in a San Francisco court in an investor fraud case involving cryptocurrency and lobbying disclosure, federal authorities announced Thursday.

U.S. Attorney David Anderson said Abramoff, 61, of Silver Spring, Maryland, has agreed to plead guilty to criminal conspiracy charges and a criminal violation of the Lobbying Disclosure Act in the case involving a cryptocurrency called AML Bitcoin.
Anderson said the charges were the first-ever brought since Congress in 2007 amended the act to address lobbying abuses and undisclosed influence.

A second man, Roland Marcus Andrade, 42, of Missouri City, Texas, was charged with fraud and money laundering in an indictment that was returned by the grand jury on June 20 and was unsealed Thursday, Anderson said.
Abramoff and Andrade could not immediately be reached for comment.

Andrade said his cryptocurrency called AML Bitcoin used technologies that complied with the federal government’s anti-money laundering laws and announced an initial offering of AML Bitcoin in the amount of $100 million, federal officials said.

“As alleged today, a AML Bitcoin did not have the features claimed by the defendants,” said John Bennett, special agent in charge of the San Francisco Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

In 2006, Abramoff pleaded guilty in a wide-ranging influence peddling probe that involved Capitol Hill, the Interior Department and members of the President George W. Bush administration. He was convicted of conspiracy, honest services mail fraud and tax evasion and was sentenced in September 2008 to four years in prison.