The former co-owner of the Minnesota Vikings and operator of Crypto Capital, Reginald Fowler, has decided to change his plea to guilty in a case that shows him having banked hundreds of millions of dollars for crypto exchanges.
Last April, Reginald Fowler and an Israeli woman were charged with running an unlicensed money transmission service. Depending on the level of money transmitted, this can be a serious crime. The Justice Department said at the time:
Reginald Fowler and Ravid Yosef allegedly ran a shadow bank that processed hundreds of millions of dollars of unregulated transactions on behalf of numerous cryptocurrency exchanges. Their organization allegedly skirted the anti-money laundering safeguards required of licensed institutions that ensure the U.S. financial system is not used for criminal purposes, and did so through lies and deceit. Thanks to the investigative work of the FBI and the IRS-CI, they will be prosecuted for their actions.
Changing your plea to guilty essentially means that you’re admitting guilt. It can also mean that you don’t think you have the ability to win your case. Either way, Fowler will now be on the hook for whatever penalties the court works out for him.
In his case, no one’s even yet sure exactly what he should be financially liable for. Although he is alleged to have banked money for cryptocurrency exchange clients using some fifty different accounts, it’s unclear how much of that money he would have at this point. Fowler has reportedly not agreed to forfeit any funds at this point.
Yosef and Fowler, despite having run an unregulated business, provided an invaluable service to exchanges, who often struggle to get adequate banking services. Having its accounts frozen by one bank helped lead to the collapse of QuadrigaCX, although later documents show that the exchange was probably doomed anyway.
Fowler is not considered a highly dangerous criminal, and faces no more than five years in prison. He is certainly facing conviction, having decided to enter a guilty plea, but whether or not he will even see the inside of a prison cell is not clear at this point.
One thing that may be discussed at trial, which is set for April, is whether Fowler and his co-conspirator even knew they were doing anything wrong. After all, at the end of the day what they did was amount to run bank accounts and other services on behalf of exchanges, all of whom appeared to be legitimate.