Two Canadian brothers will serve prison sentences for running an unregistered money service business. Authorities said the two founded Payza, a payments processor that reportedly processed over $250 million in payments, some of it allegedly being for criminals. Firhoz Patel and his brother Ferhan Patel are sentenced to serve 36 and 18 months behind bars, respectively, a federal judge in the District of Columbia has determined.
Payza founders to forfeit $4.5 million that the Department of Justice had already seized.
Canadian brothers’ company MH Pillars Inc., which was doing business as Payza.com, was sentenced to three years of corporate probation. The two must also forfeit $4.5 million that the Department of Justice had already seized. They also had to forfeit the two websites where they conducted their business—payza.com and alertpay.com. The sentencing came after the 46-year-old Firhoz and his 39-year-old sibling pleaded guilty to operating an unlicensed money transmitting business earlier this year. They also pleaded guilty to laundering money instruments. The U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin warned criminals against enabling fraud, stating that the U.S. is ready to “do everything within its power to take the profit out of crime and convict those who enable fraud.”
Regulators continue to crack down on crypto companies.
Cryptocurrency-related crimes have increased around the world this year amid the ongoing pandemic. As reported earlier, the Enforcement Division of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has collected more than $4.68 billion in illegal income and fines in 2020. Around $1.26 billion in penalties was handed over to the US SEC by unregistered initial coin offerings (ICOs) alone this year. The Enforcement Division Director Stephanie Avakian stated that the SEC obtained judgments and orders totaling approximately $4.68 billion in disgorgement and penalties, which is the highest amount on record.”