The judge claims the aviation risk and orders the activist to be detained by Free Keene pending the Bitcoin money laundering trial of crime
CONCORD – Keene freelance activist and cryptocurrency trader Ian Freeman will remain behind bars while awaiting trial for money laundering, fraud and other financial crimes, a judge ruled Monday.
In a 17-page decision setting out the ruling, Judge Andrea Johnstone said she was not confident that a freed freeman would appear in court in the future. She also feared that his freedom might allow his alleged crimes to continue.
During a hearing earlier this month, prosecutors described the wealth Freeman has built in his barter deal, including 28 bitcoins, a $ 1.6 million cache that is almost impossible to track down and can be accessed anywhere.
“The defendant’s substantial financial assets and the fact that a large part of his fortune is in the form of a cryptocurrency that is difficult to track down speak in favor of his incarceration,” wrote Johnstone.
Freeman’s attorney, veteran defense attorney Mark Sisti, said he would appeal the verdict. He noted that Johnstone is a judge and that their decision can be appealed against the judge who will eventually examine the case, Joseph Laplante.
“The next step is to get him out,” said Sisti. He didn’t rule out calling the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to testify in a future bail trial.
Sisti said the Freeman case did not have any of the aspects judges typically use to deny bail: a history of skipping court hearings, a violent crime, drug trafficking, or a gun-related crime.
The ruling means only two of the six people arrested earlier this month – Freeman and Nobody, formerly known as Rich Paul – will remain in custody.
Aria DiMezzo, 34; Colleen Fordham, 60; Renee Spinella, 23, and Andrew Spinella, 35, have been released and must meet government-established conditions. Nobody has reserved the right to ask for a deposit in the future.
Authorities claim Freeman ran an extensive cryptocurrency exchange with no questions asked. He is accused of charging high fees to scammers and other criminal activities to exchange dollars for cryptocurrency.
Most federal prisoners in New Hampshire are held in Merrimack or Strafford County prisons.
Other reasons Johnstone cited for Freeman’s imprisonment:
Although he has lived in New Hampshire since 2006, he lacks significant ties with the state. His parents live in Florida and his sister lives in New York.
Freeman has transferred the property he owns in New Hampshire to Shire Free Church.
His primary responsibility of hosting a radio show doesn’t require his presence on Keene.
His business partner, Mark Edington, is currently out of the country, possibly in Mexico.
Some charges face substantial penalties – a mandatory minimum 10 year sentence and a maximum sentence for life in prison.
The case against him, built over five years by federal law enforcement agencies, is strong and gives him another incentive to flee.
Freeman continued his exchange even though he was aware of the investigation against him.
Although Freeman has offered to wear a tracking device, he lacks GPS functionality and has not been able to track all of his movements.
Freeman did not provide enough details about his offering to restrict his electronic access and access to his currency exchange business.