A businessman in Arizona named Reginald Fowler, who was slated to plead guilty for potentially lying to banks so he could open virtual currency trading branches, has said “no” to his current plea deal.
Fowler Is Heading to Court
Fowler once held a minority stake in the National Football League’s Minnesota Vikings. He has been accused of running an unlicensed money-transmitting business that would have potentially allowed users to sell, trade and purchase digital currencies. Initially, Fowler was slated to be charged with only one felony granted he was willing to give up more than $370 million in approximately 50 separate cryptocurrency accounts.
While this was initially the plan, it appears Fowler is having a change of heart and has decided he’s not ready to part with so much money. He is now slated to go to trial this coming April in a Manhattan, New York courthouse.
As we have seen time and time again, there are many instances when crime in the crypto space occurs. In addition, the arena is still relatively new, and many companies fail to abide by specific protocols given that they aren’t always familiar with all the rules or don’t necessarily understand them before engaging in a specific activity.
This could probably be said for several firms that have hosted initial coin offerings (ICOs) over the years. While one could probably find the occasional business that knowingly or willingly forwent the laws and rules set forth by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and didn’t register their future token sales, it could also be argued that many of the companies that have been punished or targeted by the SEC didn’t know they were required to register their tokens or potentially boasted qualities that would prevent them from falling under the SEC’s jurisdiction.
There are several companies out there attacked by the SEC that either argue or have argued that the tokens they’re looking to offer are not legitimate securities. Therefore, they’re not subject to the same laws and regulations that the SEC seeks to enforce.
Is it possible this is a similar case? That perhaps Fowler didn’t necessarily have all the information he needed before opening such a business and thus didn’t obtain all the resources he needed? He is accused of processing millions of dollars through cryptocurrency exchanges without obtaining the proper licensure. Thus, his firm was not subject to the same money laundering protocols that other financial transmitting businesses would have had to deal with.
It’s Hard to Say, “I Didn’t Know”
At the same time, it’s hard to imagine someone not knowing about license requirements before opening a business that’s centered on transmitting funds from one hand to another.
Fowler owned a portion of the Minnesota Vikings beginning in 2005. His association with the team concluded six years ago in 2014.