Florida state police have arrested three alleged money-launderers after a lengthy investigation into the world of face-to-face bitcoin trading, reports Krebs on Security. Working through the site localbitcoins.com, the traders arranged face-to-face meetings in which they would hand over Bitcoin wallet codes in exchange for cash, rendering the transactions effectively untraceable. Unfortunately for them, the state attorney considers that a money transmittal business, and is charging the men under Florida versions of the same anti-money laundering statutes used in the case against BitInstant CEO Charlie Shrem.
The case is particularly noteworthy for the sheer volume of money involved. One defendant's LocalBitcoins profile shows him trading more than 150 bitcoins in the last six months, adding up to well over $100,000. The arrests also strike at one of the few sources bitcoin sources that remains anonymous, as more established exchanges move away from cash transfer services. As security researcher Nicholas Weaver told Krebs, "if you want a significant amount of anonymous bitcoins, right now this community is about the only mechanism still available."