Samourai Wallet Co-Founder Pleads Not Guilty, Released on $1M Bond

Keonne Rodriguez, co-founder of the privacy-focused bitcoin wallet app Samourai Wallet, has pleaded not guilty to charges related to money laundering and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, Cointelegraph reported. Rodriguez, 35, appeared in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on April 29, where he entered his plea and was released on a $1 million bond.

The charges against Rodriguez stem from allegations that Samourai Wallet facilitated over $100 million in money laundering transactions from illegal dark web markets, totaling approximately $2 billion in unlawful transactions between 2015 and the recent seizure of its servers.

Rodriguez, along with his co-founder William Lonergan Hill, 65, who was arrested in Portugal on the same day, faces serious legal consequences. Both individuals could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison for money laundering and five years for conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money-transmitting business.

As part of his bail conditions, Rodriguez is confined to his residence in Harmony, Pennsylvania, and is required to wear a location monitoring device. He is also prohibited from engaging in any cryptocurrency transactions without prior approval from the court, effectively preventing him from performing any services for Samourai Wallet.

Despite Rodriguez’s release, Hill remains in custody in Portugal, awaiting extradition proceedings. The Department of Justice intends to bring Hill back to the United States to face the charges against him.

The arrests of Rodriguez and Hill are part of a broader crackdown by U.S. authorities on cryptocurrency mixers, which are believed to facilitate money laundering by obscuring the origins of digital transactions. Similar cases, such as that of Tornado Cash developer Roman Storm, highlight the government’s efforts to combat financial privacy tools in the cryptocurrency space.

Rodriguez’s next court appearance is scheduled for May 14, where he will continue to defend himself against the charges brought by the Justice Department. As the legal proceedings unfold, the cryptocurrency community awaits further developments in this high-profile case.