Reginald Fowler rejects plea deal to avoid massive fines

The man behind one of the largest cryptocurrency shadow banks, Reginald Fowler, appeared ready to acknowledge his wrongdoing; however, he isn’t ready to have to shell out major amounts of money to cover his infractions. Last month, he was all set to admit to running an unlicensed money transmittal business that served the cryptocurrency industry after initially having pleaded not guilty following his arrest last April, but has now balked after prosecutors told him how much he would have to pay to put the case to rest. Now, the case may have to run its course through to the end before a final verdict can be reached.

Fowler was reportedly going to agree to the one count of operating an unlicensed money transmittal operation. In order for prosecutors to accept the deal, though, they wanted him to turn over up to $371 million that is held in 50 different bank accounts, according to a report by Bloomberg. The former minority owner of the Minnesota Vikings apparently doesn’t want to give up that much money.

A letter submitted to the judge overseeing the case, District Court Judge Andrew Carter, from U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman explained the latest update in the ongoing saga, stating, “Pursuant to the Court’s order at the last conference, the parties respectfully write to advise the Court as to the status of the case. On Thursday, Mr. Fowler rejected the current plea offer, and the Government has formally withdrawn that offer; thus, the parties anticipate the case proceeding to trial as scheduled on April 28, 2020. Although the Court set a schedule for motions in limine in advance of trial, a motion schedule for general pretrial motions has not been set; thus, the parties will confer and submit a joint letter within the next week proposing a schedule for the Court’s consideration.”

As the letter indicates, the trial is going to have to move forward, which means Fowler potentially has a lot more to lose. It isn’t clear what he plans on basing any defense on, or where certain funds might be hiding. He reportedly helped a number of exchanges circumvent know-your-customer and money-laundering regulations, and is allegedly behind Crypto Capital, the company that Bitfinex accuses of absconding with $750 million of its funds. The case will continue its judicial process in court this coming April.

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