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Samourai Cryptomixer Founders Charged by the US DoJ for Allegedly Laundering Over $100 Million


April 25, 2024

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Samourai Cryptomixer Founders Charged by the US DoJ for Allegedly Laundering Over $100 Million

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has charged the founders of the Samourai crypto mixer for allegedly laundering over $100 million. Over the course of its decade-long operation, Keonne Rodriguez and William Lonergan Hill are accused of amassing substantial sums in fees from a range of dubious sources.

According to an indictment, the crypto tumbler was used to process over $2 billion in cryptocurrency, most of which were likely illicit funds, preserving the anonymity of its customers.

Samourai Crypto Mixer Laundered Over $100 Million

“While offering Samourai as a ‘privacy’ service, the defendants knew that it was a haven for criminals to engage in large-scale money laundering and sanctions evasion,” the indictment reads. “Indeed, as the defendants intended and well knew, a substantial portion of the funds that Samourai processed were criminal proceeds passed through Samourai for purposes of concealment.”

During its runtime, Samourai allegedly helped criminals launder over $100 million originating from wire fraud and computer fraud schemes, illegal dark web markets such as Silk Road, spear phishing schemes, decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols defrauding, and other shady activities.

Additional ‘Ricochet’ Feature Used to Obfuscate Transactions

Samourai also boasted “Ricochet,” a feature designed to obfuscate crypto transactions by bouncing them through several intermediate wallets to “stump the blacklists and help guard against unjust 3rd party account closures.”

The founders reportedly garnered approximately $4.5 million in fees from crypto mixing and Ricochet transactions.

Domains Seized, Mobile App Took Down

Icelandic Police have seized the duo’s domains and web servers; the law enforcement operation has also led to the removal of Samourai’s Android mobile app from the Google Play Store.

Both suspects have been taken into custody and charged with money laundering and operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business. The cumulated penalties for these conspiracy charges total a sentence of up to 25 years. Rodriguez is set to appear before a US Magistrate Judge in the coming days, while Hills awaits extradition to the US to stand trial after being arrested in Portugal.

Crypto Mixers are Never About Protecting Honest Customers’ Privacy

Although crypto mixer operators market their platforms as benign, privacy-oriented services, users should be aware of the implications. Threat actors often rely on crypto mixers to cover their tracks after engaging in criminal activities, including crypto scams, ransomware, or selling illicit goods on underground markets.




Vlad's love for technology and writing created rich soil for his interest in cybersecurity to sprout into a full-on passion. Before becoming a Security Analyst, he covered tech and security topics.

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