U.S. District Court of MD issued warrant for contents of Mt. Gox Dwolla account [VIDEO] - Technical.ly Baltimore

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May 17, 2013 10:30 am

U.S. District Court of MD issued warrant for contents of Mt. Gox Dwolla account [VIDEO]

The warrant sanctioning the seizure of the Dwolla account for Mt. Gox, the world's largest Bitcoin exchange, was signed in Baltimore.

A Maryland court is involved in a major fight about how we might pay for things in the future

The warrant that allowed the Department of Homeland Security to cease payments to and from Dwolla account 812-649-1010 was issued by the U.S. District Court of Maryland and signed in Baltimore.

Dwolla what now? It all has to do with the digital currency Bitcoin.

Here’s the deal:

  • Dwolla is an Iowa-based money-transfer service that allowed people to transfer U.S. dollars to Japan-based Mt. Gox, the world’s largest exchange for the crypto-currency Bitcoin. So, people purchased Bitcoins by transmitting money to Mt. Gox via that Dwolla account. Mt. Gox also used the aforementioned Dwolla account to send cash to people selling their Bitcoins.
  • Because Mt. Gox is based in Japan, it established a subsidiary in Delaware, Mutum Sigillum, through which the Dwolla account was registered.
  • However, when Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles opened up a bank account with Wells Fargo in the name of Mutum Sigillum, he failed to indicate on the relevant paperwork that he ran a money-transmitting business.
  • As the seizure warrant issued May 14 notes, not disclosing that information is a problem. It’s in violation of 18 U.S. Code 1960, and those found guilty can be fined and sentenced up to five years in prison.

Watch this video to learn how Bitcoins work:

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So how did the federal government find out? Ars Technica explains:

Homeland Security used a confidential informant, based in Maryland, to conduct the investigation. The informant simply created accounts with Dwolla and Mt. Gox, bought bitcoins, and then changed them back into dollars. Tracing that money, HSI was able to see that the money passed through a Wells Fargo account, number 7657841313, which was created by a single authorized signer: Mark Karpeles, the president and CEO of Mt. Gox. The Dwolla account shows transfers to Dwolla going back to at least December 2011, according to the warrant.

Mt. Gox responded on Wednesday with a statement that read, in part: “[A]s of this time Mt. Gox has not been provided with a copy of the court order and/or warrant and does not know its scope and/or the reasons for its issuance.”

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