In May, the anonymous online banking service Liberty Reserve was abruptly shut down as part of an international sting by the Justice Department. The site was charged with laundering more than $1 billion each year for identity thieves and drug traffickers from their headquarters in Costa Rica. Today, one of the co-founders, Vladimir Kats, has pled guilty to the charges, admitting his role in the criminal marketplace that spanned more than one million users worldwide.
While the other co-founders were arrested in Costa Rica, the Secret Service found Kats in Brooklyn, having left his role at Liberty Reserve in 2009. But despite his diminished role, the 41-year-old co-founder is still on the hook for conspiracy to commit money laundering, as well as numerous money transmittal charges. Together, the charges carry a maximum sentence of 90 years. A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.