The last month has been a busy one in the “Crypto Six” case. First, three of the Six took felony “wire fraud” plea deals after prosecutors threatened to load them up with even more victimless “crime” charges. Even though no one was actually defrauded out of any money or property, the three – Renee and Andy Spinella and Nobody – agreed to become federal felons, reluctantly admitting guilt to one count each of “wire fraud”, despite no one actually being defrauded out of money or property.
Unfortunately, even though the three are completely peaceful, honest people, now they will be saddled with felony convictions that makes them look dishonest. It’s understandable though, why they would take such a plea. The federal gang is a scary bunch of people and they know how to intimidate. Even when a defendant did nothing wrong, that doesn’t mean a jury will do the right thing and set the accused free. The supermajority of people charged criminally at the state or federal level will take the plea deal, simply because they see it as a way to make their suffering end. Or at least, so it seems in the moment. While it may end the current prosecution, it sets them up for failure later if they are ever arrested again, as then they have a felony conviction, so the next sentence will be even harder.
Though federal juries have surprisingly issued some “not guilty” verdicts in recent years, like the verdicts in the Michigan governor “kidnapping” cases and the Bundy ranch cases, generally juries are pretty obedient to the state, so it’s highly risky to take a case to trial. Plus, federal cases are frequently biased against the defense, like that of Ross Ulbricht, where they weren’t able to call many witnesses or make the case they wanted. So, I don’t blame my friends for admitting to “crimes” they didn’t commit just so they can have some predictability as to what is coming next for them. Nobody is expecting a verdict of “time served” for the six months he did behind bars last year prior to being granted bail in September. Renee is facing up to 18 months in prison and Andy is expecting some amount of probation, or so I hear. I’m still not allowed to speak with my friends under my bail conditions. Their sentencing dates are in late July.
The fourth of the Crypto Six, Colleen Rietmann, co-owner of Mighty Moose Mart in Keene, has had her charges dropped. Perhaps the feds did not want to be seen prosecuting a grandmother in front of a jury at the same time as they are trying to allege that Aria DiMezzo and I were victimizing elderly women caught in romance scams online.After Aria and I refused to take the feds’ plea offer, since we’ve done nothing wrong, they followed through on their threat and brought a bunch of new charges against us in what is called a “superseding indictment”. If convicted of all the counts against me, I face up to 420 years in prison. All for “crimes” with no victim. Oh wait, the feds also filed something called an “Organizational Victim Statement”, and according to the attachment, they are claiming we have victimized… the banks! The list includes Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, TD Bank, and many other big banks and credit unions.
Curiously, during one of the plea deal hearings this month, the prosecutors admitted that there were no damages to the “victims”, so they couldn’t ask for any restitution as part of the sentencing. How exactly then were these banks “victimized” by fraud if no money or property was lost? I guess we’ll find out when the case goes to trial this November. As Nobody put it, he has been convicted of “contempt of bank”. Apparently it’s felony charges with up to 30 years in prison for anyone who hurts the banks’ feelings in the “free” country of America.
While it’s no fun to be under highly restrictive bail conditions – I have an ankle monitor on for nearly a year now – at least now all the feds’ cards are finally laid on the table and now we can construct our defense.
The Crypto Six case is an attack on our freedoms. It is an attack against freedom of speech, freedom of religion, libertarian activists in New Hampshire, and against cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. While we are not the first to be accused of victimless “crimes” for spreading Bitcoin, nearly all of those so accused in the past have taken the plea deals, out of fear for what could happen. Aria and I are going to trial and so the feds will actually have to put on their case for the first time, in a desperate attempt to prop up the ever-inflating US Dollar and the banking cartel. Bitcoin is not a crime!