Free Keene leaders arrested for money laundering in FBI raids; illegal Bitcoin exchange alleged
Damien Fisher and Josie Albertson-Grove, 16 March 2021
Six people involved with the libertarian Free Keene group are facing charges — including wire fraud and money laundering — related to an unlicensed cryptocurrency exchange that federal prosecutors said processed some $10 million since 2016.
Prosecutors say the six people ran an unlicensed online exchange that let people swap dollars for Bitcoin, and collected fees for their service.
The six charged are Ian Freeman (formerly Ian Bernard), 40, of Keene; Colleen Fordham, 60, of Alstead; Renee Spinella, 23, of Derry; Andrew Spinella, 35, of Derry; Nobody (formerly Richard Paul), 52, of Keene; and Aria DiMezzo, 34, of Keene, who ran for Cheshire County sheriff in 2020.
The cryptocurrency exchange used bank accounts that purported to be for churches, lied to banks and told customers to lie to banks to keep up the ruse, prosecutors said in an indictment.
Beginning in the spring of 2016, prosecutors said, the group opened bank accounts for the Shire Free Church, the Crypto Church of New Hampshire, the Church of the Invisible Hand and the Reformed Satanic Church.
Freeman told the Union Leader earlier this year that the Bitcoin transaction business funds the activities of the Shire Free Church.
Freeman said one of his bank accounts was frozen last year as part of an investigation. He acknowledged there is fraud in the Bitcoin world, but said he was not part of that type of business.
“I’ve got what I think are pretty good procedures,” he said.
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