Los Angeles Man Pleads Guilty to Running an Unlicensed Exchange for Criminals


The long arm of the law caught up with a man from Westwood in Los Angeles, causing him to plead guilty to charges levied against him, for running crypto exchange services without a license or anti-money laundering (AML) provisions. The accused is said to have transacted about $25 million.

According to reports, Kunal Kalra conducted unlicensed exchange transaction between May 2015 and October 2017. He stands accused of exchanging crypto for cash for criminals who received cryptocurrency payments for selling illegal drugs. Kalra has also admitted to this as part of his plea.

The publication by the U.S. Justice department further has it that the 25 year old only dealt with high volume customers who exchanged a minimum of $5,000 per trade. His business involved the creation of several bank accounts in other names as well as fake business. This web allowed him continue his illegal business without being caught, for more than two years. Kalra also operated a crypto ATM where he did a lot of his trades and as reported, he did not ask for any personal information from any of the customers and also did not install a surveillance camera.

The authorities have since seized almost $889,000 cash from Kalra’s accounts and his car and almost 54.3 Bitcoins as well as several other digital assets. At the moment, Kalra is looking at a maximum possible sentence of life imprisonment.

Kalra also has federal criminal charges against him in Texas which allege a conspiracy to commit money laundering for an illegal drug network which specialized in counterfeit prescription tablets.

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