Samourai Wallet Founders Allegedly Arrested for $100M Money Laundering Operations

Federal authorities revealed yesterday the release of an indictment against the founders of Samourai Wallet, accusing them of conspiring to launder money and run an unlawful money transmission enterprise.

TakeAway Points:

  • The founders of Samourai Wallet face up to 25 years in prison together after being accused of laundering over $100 million from dark web markets.
  • $2 billion worth of illegal activity was facilitated by Samourai, whose arrests demonstrate the US government’s crackdown on cryptocurrency mixing tools used for criminal transactions.
  • With recent convictions and impending trials, DOJ is continuing its strong approach and signalling further regulatory attention on cryptocurrency mixers.

The Law on Samourai Wallet

Keonne Rodriguez and William Lonergan Hill, the creators of the cryptocurrency-mixing service Samourai Wallet, are facing serious charges from federal authorities for conspiring to launder money and running an unlawful money-transmitting enterprise. 

Their alleged involvement in the laundering of over $100 million in proceeds from criminal activity between February 2015 and February 2024 is the basis for the allegations. Samourai Wallet positioned itself as a “haven for criminals” involved in money laundering and sanctions evasion, facilitating $2 billion in anonymous transactions, according to the indictment made public in federal court in Manhattan.

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said: “As alleged, Keonne Rodriguez and William Lonergan Hill are responsible for developing, marketing, and operating Samourai, a cryptocurrency mixing service that executed over $2 billion in unlawful transactions and served as a haven for criminals to engage in large-scale money laundering. Rodriguez and Hill allegedly knowingly facilitated the laundering of over $100 million of criminal proceeds from the Silk Road, Hydra Market, and a host of other computer hacking and fraud campaigns.  Together with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to relentlessly pursue and dismantle criminal organizations that use cryptocurrency to hide illicit conduct.”

Increased Worldwide Crackdown

The report stated that Samourai Wallet founders’ legal action is a component of a larger, more forceful international campaign against cryptocurrency mixers. These services, which mask the sources and destinations of bitcoin transactions, are coming under more and more scrutiny. 

The inventor of Bitcoin Fog was found guilty in Washington of money laundering from darknet markets, which highlights international regulatory initiatives. 

The privacy features of Samourai Wallet, which has been downloaded over 100,000 times, have led international law enforcement authorities, such as Europol and the UK’s National Crime Agency, to identify it as a possible instrument for unlawful activity.

Seizures and Arrests

According to reports, Rodriguez and Hill were paid about $4.5 million for their mixing services. Hill was captured in Portugal, while Rodriguez was taken into custody in Pennsylvania. Hill is currently awaiting extradition to the United States. 

Along with the arrests, Samourai Wallet, our mobile application on the Google Play Store, has been placed under seizure, and the company’s website has been taken offline. 

The indictment unearths conversations between the founders that seem to support the use of their business to launder illicit money. For example, Hill wrote in a private message, “At Samourai, we are fully focused on the black/grey circular economy and censorship resistance.”

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