Federal prosecutors unsealed a new 32-count superseding indictment Tuesday against Free Keene’s Ian Freeman and Aria DiMezzo, the last remaining suspects in the “Crypto 6” money laundering Bitcoin criminal case.
The new indictments alleged Freeman and DiMezzo engaged in money laundering, wire fraud, conspiracy, and tax evasion. Freeman and DiMezzo are the only conspirators named in these new indictments, bought a week after three of the so-called Crypto 6 entered into plea agreements.
Renee Spinella, 25, her husband Andrew Spinella, 36, and Nobody, formerly known as Rich Paul, 54, all took plea deals that will bring them minimal prison time, and no jail time for Andrew Spinella. Prosecutors also dropped the indictment against Colleen Fordham, 62, leaving Freeman, 42, and DiMezzo, 35, as the only remaining suspects.
Renee Spinella is Freeman’s ex-girlfriend, and Nobody is a long-time member of Freeman’s Keene libertarian activist group.
Freeman’s attorney, Mark Sisti, could not be reached Tuesday evening. Richard Guerriero, DiMezzo’s attorney, said Tuesday night his client maintains her innocence.
“Aria DiMezzo maintains her position that she did nothing wrong and should not be prosecuted. She looks forward to a trial before a jury of New Hampshire citizens,” Guerriero said.
Freeman was asked Tuesday night about his former friends and associates possibly testifying against him, but he said he does not think that will happen.
“I don’t know what, if any, evidence there is that people are talking to the Feds or planning to testify against me. I’ve heard the opposite,” Freeman said in an email.
According to former First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Hampshire David Vicinanzo, the superseding indictments likely mean people are talking and providing new evidence to prosecutors.
“It most likely reflects that the people who pleaded are cooperating, have been interviewed, and have been deemed credible. Not only do the prosecutors have the testimony of the new witnesses, but probably additional documentary or other corroborative evidence derived from the insider testimony,” Vicinanzo said. “So, it looks like the Feds are loading up on the remaining defendants or defendants. It’s a common pattern in the federal system. We did it many times when I was there.”
If Vicinanzo is correct, and people close to Freeman are now witnesses for the prosecution, Freeman said he is not upset with them.
“Even if my friends are talking, no I don’t feel betrayed. The Feds are very scary and threatened my co-defendants with more charges if they didn’t take a plea deal. This is the typical strategy of the Feds, and it nearly always succeeds. It does not mean those who’ve pled guilty actually did anything wrong or harmed anyone. It simply means they were under duress and afraid of the unknown,” Freeman said. “I don’t blame them for doing what they felt they needed to do. Whatever it is they might say would only be the truth, that we were not scamming anyone, and no one was harmed. My religion includes the practice of forgiveness.”
According to the indictments, Freeman and DiMezzo brought in millions of dollars through their Bitcoin exchanges and Bitcoin ATMs. They also used personal bank accounts and accounts for made-up churches like the Shire Free Church, the Crypto Church of New Hampshire, the Church of the Invisible Hand, and the Reformed Satanic Church in order to conduct their bitcoin businesses. The pair allegedly lied to banks in opening their accounts and got others like Nobody and the Spinella’s to open accounts on their behalf, according to court records.
Part of the operation for Freeman was to help cybercriminals swindle money from lonely victims, according to the indictments.
“As part of the unlawful scheme, the defendant Ian Freeman knowingly processed and profited from numerous virtual currency transactions conducted on behalf of individuals who were defrauded by illegal scams, most commonly so-called ‘romance scams.’ By knowingly permitting defrauded individuals to exchange fiat currency for virtual currency including Bitcoin, Freeman and others facilitated the transfer of illicit proceeds to the executors of the illegal scams, while generating revenue for the virtual currency exchange business.,” the new indictments state.
Freeman is a long-time libertarian activist who first moved to New Hampshire as part of the Free State Project. The official Free State Project distanced itself from Freemen in 2014 when he repeatedly used his radio show to call for lowering the age of consent. However, Freeman has taken part in Free State events since his 2014 ouster, such as the annual libertarian PorcFest.
The indictment states federal officials plan to seize all of Freeman’s Bitcoins, as well as $180,000 in cash and other currencies taken during the March 2021 raids at his home in Keene.