Man sentenced to 4 years for running unregistered bitcoin exchange

PEORIA - A McLean County man who pleaded guilty to running an unlicensed bitcoin exchange has been sentenced to four years in prison.

John Powell, 55, received his sentence on December 4 after pleading guilty to two counts of operating an unlicensed money service business in July 2014.

Prosecutors say during an 18-month period, Powell received more than $3 million, even though he hadn't registered the bitcoin exchange with Illinois or the federal government.

Bitcoin is a virtual currency that's used to buy and sell services and goods without the use of government-issued money.  Individuals using bitcoins can conduct their transactions anonymously.  Prosecutors also say that Powell's exchange allowed individuals to have even more anonymity, by exchanging cash for bitcoins anonymously.
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