Bitcoin Money Laundering Case: Both Defendants Communicating With Feds by White Collar Fraud
On January 27, 2014, Charlie Shrem and Robert M. Faiella were arrested by F.B.I. agents for allegedly engaging in a scheme “to sell over $1 million in Bitcoins to criminals bent on trafficking narcotics on the dark web drug site, Silk Road.” On March 2, 2014, this blog reported that court documents were filed revealing that Shrem’s lawyer Marc Agnifilo was engaged in discussions with federal prosecutors in a possible attempt to negotiate a plea bargain for his client. At the time, no court documents were filed indicating that Faiella’s attorney David Braun was also engaged in similar discussions with prosecutors. On March 14, 2014, new court documents were filed revealing that Braun had been talking to federal prosecutors “beginning on February 10, 2014 and continuing as recently as March 7, 2014.”
Therefore, we know that lawyers for both defendants are talking to the Feds. It is unclear which lawyer was the first one to engage in discussions with federal prosecutors. As I detailed above, Faiella’s attorney started negotiating with prosecutors on February 10. However, court filings reveal that Shrem’s attorney started negotiating with prosecutors “in early February 2014.” Are Shrem and Faiella engaged in a race to cut the first deal with the Feds? Based on my past experiences, I have no doubt that prosecutors are playing one defendant against the other.
Robert M. Faiella has not been talking to the press, while Charlie Shrem has been very vocal about the charges against him. Faiella is playing it smart. Shrem is not helping himself by being publicly “defiant” while his lawyer is engaging in negotiations with prosecutors.
Sam E. Antar