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PEORIA — A Normal man has been sentenced to four years in federal prison for running an unlicensed, multimillion-dollar bitcoin exchange on the Internet.

Chief U.S. District Judge James E. Shadid sentenced John D. Powell 55, to 48 months in federal prison and to serve three years of supervised release following his incarceration.

On July 31, Powell entered an open plea of guilty to two counts of operating an unlicensed money service business. He was sentenced last week. 

It was the first such case prosecuted by the U.S. attorney for the Central District of Illinois, said that office.

Bitcoin is a cybercurrency that allows individuals to conduct transactions anonymously. According to court documents, Powell’s exchange business allowed individuals increased anonymity by exchanging cash anonymously for bitcoin.

Investigators found that Powell received more than $3 million from individuals during an 18-month period ending in February 2014, according to the U.S. attorney's office.


Night City Editor

Night City Editor for The Pantagraph.

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