He defends himself by claiming he ended up in the crosshairs because he regularly uses Bitcoin.
Mark Alexander Hopkins, known as Dr. Bitcoin or Rizzn, has pleaded guilty and could face up to 15 months in prison for running an illegal business converting cash into cryptocurrency. According to the Cointelegraph, if asked about this, Rizzn would reply that he considers himself a victim of the “encroaching state war on privacy, and the general brokenness of the criminal justice system” and that “Texas and other states are pushing BTC adoption, literally manufacturing felons.”
Rizzn spoke in a remarkably long Twitter thread about not knowing that Bitcoin P2P is a federal crime that carries a sentence of up to five years in prison after pleading guilty last June to operating a one-off unlicensed money transfer business. Hopkins was raided in 2019 after he was implicated in a Nigerian lottery scam for allegedly taking between $500,000 and $1.5 million from the fraudsters and converting it into Bitcoin for a fee. He says he was not aware that his clients were under investigation for their crimes. In layman’s terms, he was laundering money for his clients.
On Twitter, he stressed, “Here’s the thing that makes this important to pay attention to and resolve: I’m a nobody. I’m not Ross. I wasn’t on the dark web. I’m not Edward. I didn’t work for the NSA. I’m not Julian. I didn’t break national secrets. I’m just a regular bitcoiner caught in the crosshairs.” However, he has admitted to the authorities that he has promised not to get involved in the scammers’ business again, and they would do well to heed the reporting obligations of financial institutions so that if they expect a deposit of less than $9,500, they would not be under scrutiny. He also asked the scammer to lie to the financial institutions: he is posing as a marketing firm, and the scammer would be paying for a campaign, according to a press release from the US District Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Texas.
“This defendant ignored federal law and allowed fraudsters to use Bitcoin to operate under the radar of law enforcement. We are determined to rid the Bitcoin marketplace of anyone who knowingly helps criminal actors stash illegal profits inside crypto wallets,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah.
Hopkins accuses the state of “constructing felonies for us, and the blockchain has a long memory; advocate for the sensible government as well as our fellow fallen cypherpunks.”