“Bitcoin Maven” Gets One Year in Prison for Money Laundering

An individual known as "Bitcoin Maven" was sentenced to one year in jail after exchanging millions of dollars of Bitcoin illegally through Localbitcoins.

A woman from California, known as the “Bitcoin Maven”, was sentenced to one year in jail for illegally laundering cryptocurrency using LocalBitcoins in the first of its kind case in the district.

Theresa Tetley has pleaded guilty in laundering Bitcoins worth millions of US dollars.

“Theresa Lynn Tetley, 50, of Southern California, a former stockbroker and real estate investor, was sentenced by United States District Judge Manuel L. Real for conducting an illegal business and engaging in unlawful monetary transactions involving Bitcoins. Tetley was also ordered to forfeit 40 Bitcoin, $292,264.00 in cash, and 25 assorted gold bars that were the proceeds of her illegal activity,” a notice of the Department of Justice informed.

Tetley has attracted the attention of law enforcement after helping an individual to launder Bitcoins received from illegal activity. She was later caught in a sting operation when exchanging Bitcoin for cash for an undercover DEA agent.

Tetley has laundered Bitcoins worth more than $6 million while working as a trader for LocalBitcoins between 2014 and 2017.

It is hard to say whether Tetley knew the origin of the money she was trading. She was acting as a conduit between the fiat and cryptocurrency markets.

Charles Hoskinson, the founder of IOHK - the company behind Cardano – condemned the court’s decision in a post on Twitter, saying that she was only guilty of a victimless ordeal.


Although this is the first sentence in California, LocalBitcoins is popular in many countries where cryptocurrency trading is either restricted or illegal and access to exchanges is difficult. In Venezuela, where people put their faith in Bitcoin in an attempt to stay away from the hyperinflating bolivar, most of the volume of trading with cryptocurrencies is made on this marketplace.

If people cannot trade Bitcoin for cash, the financial privacy of the cryptocurrency could be compromised. Tetley’s prison sentence might establish a precedent in California for this.