The U.S. Secret Service has arrested five individuals and seized multiple bank accounts that add up to $6 billion as part of what is now being considered as the largest money-laundering scheme in history.
U.S. authorities seized the Costa-Rica based business, Liberty Reserve, on Tuesday with the help of 17 other countries. The U.S. charged its founders, Arthur Budovsky and Vladimir Kats, with money laundering and conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business.
In 2011, the pair faced similar charges in association with Liberty Reserve and GoldAge. They decided to move the business to Costa Rica and renounce their U.S. citizenship.
Budovsky claimed that Liberty Reserve had shut down, though he continued with the business.
Since 2006, Liberty Reserve has served a kind of “PayPal” for criminals, allowing customers to make untraceable anonymous financial transactions that encouraged illegal activity. A username and email address were the only requirements to create an account.
Credit card theft, identity theft, investment fraud, computer hacking, child pornography and narcotics trafficking were all part of Liberty Reserve’s business.
The website was removed on Thursday, and replaced with a notice from the Department of Justice that the government has seized the domain.