Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Case of Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow

Bitcoin fanboys thinking of becoming money launderers take note, if the government wants to get you they will and entrapment seems to work.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
[Raymond "Shrimp Boy"] Chow  54, leader of an association called the Ghee Kung Tong, is charged with laundering $2.3 million supplied by an undercover FBI agent between 2011 and 2013, purportedly from drug sales, gambling and other crimes...

"Mr. Chow was wrongfully targeted by law enforcement, and the evidence will show the Chinese community was targeted by law enforcement," said attorney Curtis Briggs, who with Serra and Gregory Bentley was appointed to represent Chow.

"These were all simulated crimes," Briggs said. "Mr. Chow himself did no wrong. ... He wants to take this to trial."..."There is an awful lot of government overreach" in the case against Chow...

In some cases, money laundering is easier to prove than the underlying crime that gives rise to it, said Beth Simmons, a professor of international affairs at Harvard University. "Money laundering might be sort of another angle to try to get at the consequences of illegal activity," she said...

In a wiretapped conversation, Chow told associates "he stays out of the transactions" and that if one of his acquaintances was caught doing something illegal, "it would be bad for all of them," the affidavit said.

Chow said his defense to any criminal accusation would be that "he doesn't really know what the rest of them were doing," the affidavit said.

But federal officials say Chow knew exactly what was going on.

The affidavit that FBI Special Agent Emmanuel Pascua filed in federal court said Chow and his associates participated in money laundering with the help of an undercover agent known in court records as "UCE 4599," short for undercover employee...

In the Chow case, according to the court affidavit, the FBI itself also supplied money for laundering through an undercover agent. The idea was to bolster the agent's credibility with the investigation's targets by saying the money came from gambling, drug sales and other crimes...Such cash typically comes from government seizures or a fund that authorities keep "for stinging people," said Robert Weisberg, a Stanford University law professor...

Attorneys for the accused could also raise entrapment as a "potential viable defense," Chazin said.

But Weisberg said he believed the undercover agents would be deemed "very credible witnesses," and that "entrapment (as a defense) really almost never works, and it's not going to work here."

Bottom line after the Shrem and Ulbricht arrests, you have to be a real idiot if you think you are free from the possibility of government prosecution when operating with Bitcoin.


  1. "Bottom line after the Shrem and Ulbricht arrests, you have to be a real idiot if you think you are free from the possibility of government prosecution when operating with Bitcoin."

    Not only that, but now you have to report Bitcoin income by IRS rules...so if you ever get investigated they have multiple avenues down which to try to incarcerate you.

    I'm starting to hope libertarians avoid Bitcoin, I only see it as a trap for liberty minded individuals that are desperate for some ability to avoid inflation and strike out at the monster state in some meaningful way. Bitcoin is not the vehicle for either.

  2. "You have to be a real idiot to think ..."

    I daresay you are right. However since the government itself has become lawless (I heard ssomeone refer to it as "government anarchy") isn't it reasonable for some people to think that the laws are to be flouted? "The fish rots from the top" according to the proverb.