Threat Management

Former CTO of Liberty Reserve pleads guilty in New York

The former CTO of Liberty Reserve, a now-shuttered money transfer service that had become a go-to for cyber criminals, has pleaded guilty in New York for his role in a money laundering scheme.

On Thursday, Mark Marmilev, 35, stood before U.S. District Judge Denise Cote and admitted his crimes. Marmilev had been charged with one count of conspiring to operate an illegal unlicensed money transmitting business, a release from the Department of Justice said.

Now, the Brooklyn resident is scheduled for a Dec. 12 sentencing.

“As the chief technology officer of Liberty Reserve, Mark Marmilev was responsible for the infrastructure of a global payment processor and money transfer system that catered largely to criminals,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said a statement. “With his guilty plea today, we are one step closer to holding to account everyone integrally involved in this sprawling internet enterprise that served as a central financial institution for cybercriminals and illegal transactions of numerous kinds.”

Last May, law enforcement seized the website for Costa Rica-based Liberty Reserve, which processed around 55 million financial transactions and laundered more than $6 billion in criminal proceeds, federal prosecutors estimate. The business was incorporated in 2006, and Marmilev's conviction is the third linked with the criminal case.

Other co-defendants, Vladimir Kats, Liberty Reserve's co-founder, and Azzeddine el Amine, who oversaw various financial accounts operated by the company, have also pleaded guilty and await sentencing, DOJ said. In total, seven individuals have been charged (PDF) in connection with the operations, including founder Arthur Budovsky, who was arrested last May in Spain by way of international law enforcement efforts.

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