US DOJ Announces Arrest of Samourai Wallet Co-Founders Who Are Charged with Money Laundering

Keonne Rodriguez and William Lonergan Hill are charged with operating Samourai Wallet, an unlicensed money transmitting business that reportedly executed over $2 billion in unlawful transactions and allegedly “laundered over $100 million in criminal proceeds.”

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York; Thomas Fattorusso, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI); and James Smith, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), announced the unsealing of “an Indictment charging Keonne Rodriguez, the Chief Executive Officer and a co-founder of Samourai Wallet, and William Lonergan Hill, the Chief Technology Officer and also a co-founder of Samourai, “with conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business.”

These charges arise from “the defendants’ development, marketing, and operation of a cryptocurrency mixer that executed over $2 billion in unlawful transactions and facilitated more than $100 million in money laundering transactions from illegal dark web markets, such as Silk Road and Hydra Market; a web-server intrusion; a spearphishing scheme; and schemes to defraud multiple decentralized finance protocols.”

Rodriguez was arrested recently and is “expected to be presented today or tomorrow before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the Western District of Pennsylvania.”

Hill was arrested recently as well in Portugal “based on the U.S. criminal charges.”

The United States will “seek Hill’s extradition to stand trial in the United States.”

The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman.

In coordination with law enforcement authorities in Iceland, Samourai’s web servers and domain (https://samourai.io/) were seized.

Additionally, a seizure warrant for Samourai’s mobile application “was served on the Google Play Store.  As a result, the application will no longer be available to be downloaded from the Google Play Store in the United States.”

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said:

“As alleged, Keonne Rodriguez and William Lonergan Hill are responsible for developing, marketing, and operating Samourai, a cryptocurrency mixing service that executed over $2 billion in unlawful transactions and served as a haven for criminals to engage in large-scale money laundering.  Rodriguez and Hill allegedly knowingly facilitated the laundering of over $100 million of criminal proceeds from the Silk Road, Hydra Market, and a host of other computer hacking and fraud campaigns.  Together with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to relentlessly pursue and dismantle criminal organizations that use cryptocurrency to hide illicit conduct.”

IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Thomas Fattorusso said:

“$2 billion in transactions with an unlicensed money transmitter means $2 billion flowed without any oversight, from whomever to wherever.  Because of the company’s disregard for regulation, it’s alleged that Samourai Wallet laundered more than $100 million in criminal proceeds.  Special Agents with IRS:CI New York and IRS:CI LA’s Cyber units worked with our federal and international law enforcement partners to not only arrest the founders and CEO, but to also seize their domain.  Samourai Wallet is now closed for business.”

FBI Assistant Director in Charge James Smith said:

“Threat actors utilize technology to evade law enforcement detection and create environments conducive to criminal activity.  For almost 10 years, Keonne Rodriguez and William Hill allegedly operated a mobile cryptocurrency mixing platform which provided other criminals a virtual haven for the clandestine exchange of illicit funds, the facilitation of more than $2 billion in illegal transactions, and $100 million in dark web money laundering.  The FBI is committed to exposing covert financial schemes and ensuring no one can hide behind a screen to perpetuate financial wrongdoing.”


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