A Marina del Rey woman who went by the name “Bitcoin Maven” on a web platform arranging digital currency transactions has been sentenced to a year in federal prison after pleading guilty to money laundering and running an unlicensed currency exchange business, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.

Theresa Lynn Tetley, a 50-year-old former stockbroker and real estate investor, oversaw transactions valued as much as $9.5 million, one of which facilitated money laundering for a man who’s been charged with selling large amounts of marijuana, cocaine and oxycodone on the dark web.

The IRS and DEA busted Tetley with a Bitcoin-for-cash sting operation in which an undercover agent explicitly stated that his digital currency had been gained through narcotics trafficking.

Tetley has been ordered to forfeit 40 Bitcoin, $292,000 in cash, and 25 gold bars acquired through illegal transactions.

According to sentencing documents, the government argued that “[i]n light of the growth of the dark web and the use of digital currency, unlicensed exchangers provide an avenue of laundering for those who use digital currency for illicit purposes.” The government asserted that Tetley’s business “fueled a black-market financial system” that “purposely and deliberately existed outside of the regulated bank industry.”    

— Joe Piasecki

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