Former Ethereum Developer Virgil Griffith Sentenced to Prison With a $100k Fine

Cryptocurrency expert and former Ethereum developer, Virgil Griffith, has been found guilty of conspiring to help North Korea avoid sanctions during a crypto conference in 2019. 

The former Ethereum developer went to Pyongyang, North Korea, to deliver a speech about cryptocurrency, which resulted in the release of vital information on how to evade United States’ sanctions using crypto. 

Griffith was sentenced to more than five (5) years in prison, approximately  63 -78 months, after pleading guilty back in September 2021 to conspiring to breach the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which forbids United States citizens from servicing sanctioned countries including North Korea. 

The convict was accused by federal prosecutors of putting United States diplomacy at risk and dwindling economic sanctions geared towards coercing hostile foreign authorities. 

$100,000 Conspiracy Fine

Apart from the prison charges, the 39-year-old offender was also fined $100,000 at the Federal Court in New York as part of the punishment. 

As per the report, although the offense carried a maximum penalty of  20 years, Griffith’s plea bargain with the prosecutors reduced the charges to a little over five years. 

Griffith noted during the sentencing that people warned him against the idea but he thought he knew better. 

“Everyone warned me. This was a terrible idea,” he fixated. 

10 Months in Prison

According to the Daily Beast report, the computer programmer had previously spent 10 months in New York City’s federal jail before the COVID 19 pandemic where he suffered enormously. 

His defense lawyer, Brian Klein,  pleaded with the Judge to reduce his terms. 

“The 10 months Mr. Griffith has spent… should count for 20 months,” Klein said.

More Crypto Crimes

Meanwhile, as the crypto market heads to mainstream adoption, global watchdogs are on the lookout for offenders. 

In February 2022, North Korean authorities penalized V-Global, a local crypto exchange, and its staff for falsely obtaining $1.7 billion from investors. 

The exchange company promoted its products to the general public, requesting investors to deposit a minimum of 600 won to the trading platform with the promise of 300% ROI. 

The V-Global CEO, together with the staff, was found guilty and prosecuted with long jail terms. 

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