Man sentenced in bitcoin case

NEW YORK (AP) — A Florida man was sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison by a judge who said he used a “pyramid of lies” to boost a business that helped criminals process millions of dollars in illegal bitcoin transactions.

Anthony Murgio, of Tampa, pleaded guilty earlier this year to conspiracy charges, admitting he knew he was acting illegally when he enticed friends and family members, including his father, to help him operate a crooked money exchange business.

“I screwed up badly,” he said in court Tuesday.

His father, a former Palm Beach County, Florida, school board member, also has pleaded guilty in the scheme.

U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan in Manhattan noted that Murgio’s victims included a federal credit union that served a low-income community in Lakewood, New Jersey.

Prosecutors said the 110-member once-healthy credit union was forced into liquidation after 36 years after Murgio and his friends made $162,000 in “donations” and “consulting fees” to a local church in a corrupt deal to take control of the credit union and process more than $60 million in transactions for their illegal activities.

The judge called Murgio’s greed-driven plans “dangerous and destructive” criminal conduct.

By Patricia Older

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