Bitcointopia Founder Admits Selling Government-Owned Land to Bitcoiners
The creator of a scheme called Bitcointopia to offer land in the U.S. state of Nevada to bitcoiners has admitted in a federal court that some land was not his to offer. Previously apprehended for selling BTC to an undercover representative through Localbitcoins, he also pleaded guilty to running an unlicensed money transferring business.
Bitcointopia Founder Admits To Fraud
Morgan Rockcoons, a previous Localbitcoins trader who was formerly detained for offering BTC to a U.S. federal agent, has apparently pleaded guilty to committing a fraud selling land that he does not own.
The cunning plan, referred to as Bitcointopia, included the sale of plots of land in the Nevada desert where Rockcoons marketed a vision of libertarians living together utilizing just cryptocurrencies as a medium of exchange and observing as few laws as possible. The Los Angeles Times reported that Rockcoons pleaded guilty to several charges on Thursday in San Diego federal court, elaborating:
He sold land he never owned to investors.
Unlicensed Money Transmitter
Rockcoons, aka Morgan Rockwell and Metaballo, also pleaded guilty Thursday to operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, the Los Angeles Times also reported. On Feb. 9 in 2015, he was jailed for selling over $10,000 worth of BTC to an undercover U.S. Homeland Security Investigations representative.
Under federal law, bitcoin exchanges must be registered as money sending organizations with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. They must carry out KYC and “report any transactions over $10,000 to the federal government,” the news outlet highlighted, including that Rockcoons now faces 20 years in prison on the wire fraud charge and approximately five years on the money transmittal charge.
The Bitcointopia Scheme
While out on bail from his arrest for selling BTC to a federal representative, Rockcoons released a property venture called Bitcointopia. He marketed parcels in Nevada’s Elko County, selling 500- to 1,000-acre plots of undeveloped land for 0.5 BTC per acre. He promised to “construct a city of the future around cryptocurrency, automation and technology. He was inspired by Walt Disney’s Tomorrowland,” the Los Angeles Times explained.
In a blog post he made last May to promote the plan, Rockcoons declared that “The long term goal is to establish an organization and government that can reach out from this land all the way to the Kuiper belt & eventually the Oort Cloud.”
On Nov. 13 in 2015, he tweeted that he had actually been arrested once again and asked bitcoiners to support him by appearing to his January court hearing. His Thursday’s plea agreement, which happened a month before his trial was to begin, exposes that at least 10 investors bought land from him, incurring a loss of a minimum of $45,600, the news outlet noted, adding:
Rockcoons owned less than 5 acres on two noncontiguous plots, prosecutors said. Much of the land in the area is actually owned by the federal government.
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Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Elko Convention and Visitors Authority.