The FBI arrested six people in the town of Keene, New Hampshire, on money laundering charges.
Agents removed a Bitcoin ATM from a local bar believed to be used in the crime, according to a report in the New Hampshire Union Leader.
Included in the six arrested was Aria DiMezzo, 34 of Keene, who ran for Cheshire County Sheriff in 2020, and Ian Freeman, believed to be the leader of the group calling itself Free Keene.
The group was brought up on charges related to an unlicensed cryptocurrency exchange that they allegedly ran through churches.
Additionally, DiMezzo was charged with participating in a conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money-transmitting business.
The money laundering operation is believed to have been started in 2016 when the group first opened bank accounts for the Shire Free Church; The Crypto Church of New Hampshire; the Church of the Invisible Hand and the Reformed Satanic Church.
During the bail hearing, Freeman said he used the account set up for the Shire Free church to pay himself as minister for the church. Freeman allegedly converted dollars for the other members of the group they had acquired from romance fraud, investment fraud and a fraud claiming someone’s loved one was in jail.
During a raid of his home last week it was discovered that Freeman had $1.6 million in Bitcoin and $178, 000 in cash.