Most people are familiar with the company Payza. This particular service provider integrated cryptocurrency payments quite some time ago. It now seems the US government has taken a rather harsh course of action against Payza. The company faces charges of running an unlicensed money services business.
Any company dealing with cryptocurrencies will irate the US government sooner or later. In the case of Payza, the charges against them are quite steep right now. Running an unlicensed money services business is subject to severe penalties and even jail time. It is evident this is not the outcome most people were hoping for, as it puts cryptocurrency in the crosshairs of regulators once again.
So far, one of the company’s co-founders has been arrested, whereas his brother is still at large. Both Ferhan and Firoz Patel are charged with facilitating up to $250 million in money laundering. This money belongs to child pornography sites, darknet users, Ponzi schemes, and so forth. It is a long laundry list of charges which should not be taken lightly by any means.
What makes this story extremely worrisome is that Payza has close ties to the cryptocurrency industry. The service lets users conveniently buy Bitcoin and a few other currencies. Bitcoin support was first introduced back in 2014, and several altcoins were added in late 2017. It seems all of these integrations have been successful for the company, although it is unclear if any cryptocurrency was involved in the alleged money laundering.
For now, the court filing does not make any mention of cryptocurrency whatsoever. It is evident there are plenty of allegations that cryptocurrencies are used to launder money associated with criminal activities. So far, very few of those claims have held up, simply because the cryptocurrency industry is not big enough to move around large amounts of money without detection.
The big question is how all of this will affect the thousands of Payza users around the world. Since so much money was laundered through this particular payment service, users of Payza may have been affected by this tainted money in one way or another. Considering that this money was transferred over the course of six years, the full scope of this operation will not become clear for quite some time.
Surprisingly, the filing also mentions two other major online payment processors which have been caught up in this scheme. Both AlertPay and EgoPay have been under the control of the Patel brothers as well. EgoPay isn’t around any longer, as it was shut down in 2015. AlertPay is still around these days, and it will be interesting to see how this news affects that company.