Two prominent names in the Crypto Crime Cartel were arrested this past week as the long overdue legal reckoning chews through prominent industry companies and individuals at the start of what is set to be a busy 2021. And, as if on cue, at the same time Mark Karpel\u00e8s\u2014another disgraced personality in the digital currency space\u2014again deflected attention away from his own legal troubles and onto Dr. Craig Wright. More charges piled on John McAfee In news that will be of particular interest to those who have been using their social media platforms to promote junk digital asset products, the U.S. Department of Justice filed charges against John McAfee and bodyguard Jimmy Watson on Thursday. The indictments relate to two schemes allegedly orchestrated by McAfee and Watson. The first involved McAfee using Twitter to promote multiple ICOs while publicly claiming that he was impartial: in reality, he was paid over US$23 million worth of digital assets for his endorsements. The second was the pump-and-dump scheme, where the two would buy digital assets right before promoting them to McAfee\u2019s one million plus followers and then selling the assets once the endorsements led to a price increase. The indictments also accuse McAfee of laundering the proceeds of this scheme via an unnamed exchange operating in the Southern District of New York. The allegations were already somewhat of an open issue after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) brought civil charges against McAfee and Watson in 2020 in relation to the same two schemes. McAfee is also already under arrest in Spain awaiting extradition to the U.S. on tax evasion charges, having allegedly not filed any tax returns for four years despite earning millions from speaking engagements, international consulting work, to name only a few. On this charge, one can assume that prosecutors are confident in the veracity of their evidence: https:\/\/twitter.com\/officialmcafee\/status\/1080953136985133062?langen The civil charges would have seen the SEC try to have McAfee disgorged of his ill-gotten gains and have him banned from serving as an officer or director of any company which has to file reports to the SEC. The criminal charges are more significant: for the older tax evasion charges alone, McAfee could face up to 30 years in prison. As for the latest indictments, the money laundering charges can result up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to twice the value of the property involved in the transaction. The fraud charges carry a maximum term of 20 years\u2019 imprisonment. The timing of these arrests is in keeping with a wider push toward enforcement and regulation over digital assets, in part sparked by rhetoric from Biden-appointed watchdogs (as well as his Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellen) suggesting that the crime being facilitated using digital asset-related products will be a focus under the new administration.\u00a0 BitMEX founder Arthur Hayes finally turning himself in Arthur Hayes, who you may remember as the former CEO of BitMEX, is now in the process of surrendering himself to U.S. authorities, according to court transcripts submitted by prosecutors in February. Hayes, along with his BitMEX co-founders, were indicted under the Bank Secrecy Act on charges of actively evading their anti-money laundering obligations under that Act. Co-founder Samuel Reed had already been taken into custody, while the other co-founders\u2014Hayes and Ben Delo\u2014have been on the run since. Now, according to the filings, Hayes and defendant Ben Delo are willing to surrender to authorities in April. In Hayes\u2019 case, the plan is apparently to turn himself in in Hawaii. In addition to the criminal BSA charges, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) are also in the process of litigating a civil suit covering much of the same territory, accusing the BitMEX founders of evading KYC and AML requirements and operating as a futures commission merchant without registering with the CFTC.\u00a0 BitMEX apparently settled the $300 million investors suit in January, but prosecutors and regulators are not bought so easily, with the Department of Justice and the CFTC set to see this one through to the end. We\u2019ll know more about what comes next when (or if) Hayes surrenders himself in April. Karpel\u00e8s Mt. Gox posturing continues Something about Dr. Craig Wright\u2019s ongoing quest to reclaim his legacy appears to have gotten under Mark Karpel\u00e8s\u2019 skin. Karpel\u00e8s, the disgraced former CEO of Mt. Gox, is now posturing to sue Dr. Wright over messages allegedly leaked from an internal Slack channel in which he calls Karpel\u00e8s an \u201cembezzler\u201d and \u201cconvicted felon.\u201d Ostensibly, the messages from Wright (of unknown provenance) are in response to claims\u2014shared by Karpel\u00e8s\u2014that the coins which were stolen in a hack on Dr. Wright\u2019s network last year originated from the Mt Gox hack in 2011 (the \u20181Feex address\u2019). According to Dr. Wright, the 1Feex coins were purchased from an exchange some time prior to the Mt. Gox theft and that no one\u2014either affiliated with Mt. Gox or otherwise\u2014has ever approached him about ownership of the coins. This despite Dr. Wright putting himself on record as the owner of the coins (indirectly or directly) since 2011, which would have been the perfect time for Karpel\u00e8s or anyone else to raise the issue. In the messages, Dr. Wright says that Karpel\u00e8s didn\u2019t ever report the address \u201cor do anything of the sort until he came to find that I was the owner\u201d and that \u201cwhat he is claiming is that he stole the coins from Mount Gox and embezzled them but still owns them.\u201d Separately, Dr. Wright also says that Karpel\u00e8s is a \u201cconvicted felon\u201d and \u201can embezzler.\u201d Apparently happy to take what little wins he can, Karpel\u00e8s pointed out that he was never convicted of embezzlement. This appears to be a semantic complaint only, though: Karpel\u00e8s was not convicted on counts of embezzlement, but he was convicted of accessing Mt. Gox\u2019s computer system to falsify financial records, with the Court blasting him for \u201c his status and authority to perform clever criminal acts.\u201d This conviction was upheld on appeal in 2020. That Karpel\u00e8s was indicted for falsifying records rather than embezzlement is neither here nor there, but it is interesting that Karpel\u00e8s would be so ready to bring attention to this fact given that the evidence which connected the 1Feex address to the Mt Gox hack has never been more than a plain text log of what is claimed to be a Skype chat between Mark Karpel\u00e8s and programmer Jed McCaleb. In that log, a participant said to be McCaleb identifies the 1feex address as the address that Mt. Gox. The log was submitted as an exhibit in another private lawsuit against Mt. Gox and its personnel in relation to the hack. So, in the end, it seems that Dr. Wright and Mr. Karpel\u00e8s are not as far apart as Karpel\u00e8s might have you believe. Despite that, Karpel\u00e8s demanded (via Twitter) a formal apology and a retraction concerning the claim that Karpel\u00e8s is a \u2018convicted embezzler\u2019. Despite that the linked Slack messages called Karpel\u00e8s a convicted felon and an embezzler separately, it is unclear whether Karpel\u00e8s would have been satisfied if Dr. Wright had left his criticism of Karpel\u00e8s at \u201cconvicted felon.\u201d Judging by the broader reaction to Dr. Wright\u2019s recent legal actions, it seems that Karpel\u00e8s\u2019 problem has nothing to with the coins Dr. Wright is claiming to own and more to do with the on-going efforts to discredit and malign Dr. Wright, who has been a vocal critic of opaque exchanges which can foreseeably lose hundreds of millions of client money without so much as an honest word about it even now, years after the supposed hack. Follow\u00a0CoinGeek\u2019s Crypto Crime Cartel\u00a0series, which delves into the stream of groups-from\u00a0BitMEX\u00a0to\u00a0Binance,\u00a0Bitcoin.com,\u00a0Blockstream,\u00a0ShapeShift,\u00a0Coinbase,\u00a0Ripple\u00a0and\u00a0Ethereum\u2014who have co-opted the digital asset revolution and turned the industry into a minefield for na\u00efve (and even experienced) players in the market.