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New York Crypto Regulator Adds Silk Road Investigator as General Counsel

04/28/2020

New York regulator that issues BitLicences adds a Silk Road investigator to its legal counsel.

April 28, New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS) announced that it is adding a former Silk Road investigator as general counsel.

The Department regulates financial services and products, which include cryptocurrency-related businesses. It awards the two types of licenses that many crypto businesses seek — a money transmitter license and a BitLicense.

Previous experience: Silk Road, cryptocurrency, FIFA

The announcement quotes the superintendent of financial services Linda A. Lacewell on the past achievements of the new general counsel Richard Weber:

“Rich brings unquestioned integrity, legal acumen, and management experience to DFS. His extensive leadership experience and depth of legal knowledge will be vital in helping the state emerge stronger and safer from this unprecedented crisis.”

The announcement also points to his previous experience at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and his role in some of its prominent investigations including Silk Road:

“At the IRS, Mr. Weber led a team of over 3500, managing complex investigations of financial crimes involving money laundering, tax, sanctions evasion, cyber, cryptocurrency, bribery/foreign corruption, fraud and terrorist financing. Mr. Weber supervised and conducted significant money laundering and sanction evasion investigations and prosecutions against financial institutions and spearheaded high profile investigations into FIFA and Silk Road and was responsible for over the forfeiture of over $15 billion in criminal penalties.”

History of Silk Road

Silk Road was a darknet marketplace operated by Ross Ulbricht that was brought down by the FBI in 2013. Ulbricht is currently serving two life sentences plus 40 years for his involvement.

It is not clear whether Weber was brought on specifically for his expertise in investigating crypto-related crimes. In addition to the Silk Road case, he was part of other high-profile investigations such as corruption in FIFA, and had previously worked for UBS and Deutsche Bank.