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Freeman Found Guilty in Final ‘Crypto 6’ Case

Libertarian activist Ian Freeman was found guilty of several felonies Thursday in the Bitcoin money laundering case. 

Freeman was at the center of a Bitcoin sales and donation operation that used his churches, such as the Shire Free Church in Keene, and hubs to launder money from cyber criminals, according to prosecutors.

The jury took a few hours Wednesday and Thursday to find Freeman guilty on charges of operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business, money laundering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money-transmitting business, and income tax evasion.

Freeman is set for a sentencing hearing in April. He faces up to eight years in prison.

Freeman was the lone Crypto 6 defendant to go to trial after four others took plea deals. Charges were dropped against the fifth. He was arrested during a March 2020 raid at his Keene home along with co-defendants Aria DiMezzo and Nobody, formerly known as Rich Paul. Freeman’s ex-girlfriend Renee Spinella and her husband, Andrew Spinella, were arrested at their home in Derry. Alstead resident Colleen Fordham, 63, was also arrested as part of the bust.

Prosecutors dropped the charges against Fordham early in the case. DiMezzo, Nobody, and the Spinella all took plea agreements that netted them light sentences.

Freeman was accused of taking in millions of dollars through Bitcoin exchanges and Bitcoin ATMs with the help of DiMezzo and the others. Freeman reportedly 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 DiMezzo’s Reformed Satanic Church, in order to conduct the bitcoin businesses. He allegedly lied to banks in opening accounts for his churches and other businesses and got the others to open accounts on his behalf, according to court records. Part of Freeman’s operation was helping cyber criminals swindle money from lonely victims, according to the indictments.

Freeman, DiMezzo, and Nobody are all part of the Free Keene collective, an offshoot of the Free State Project. The Free State Project made a show of kicking Freeman out of the movement in 2014 after he repeatedly advocated for lowering the age of consent. The Free State Project is a Libertarian initiative to overtake the state’s government. Freeman is an advocate of seceding from the United States of America.

Feds Drop 17 Charges Ahead of Freeman’s ‘Crypto 6’ Trial

Ian Freeman got an early Christmas gift from federal prosecutors as 17 of the 25 felony charges against him were dropped days before his trial was set to begin. 

“While I am happy to see the bulk of the charges in my case go away, I’m sad for my friends who were intimidated into wrongful convictions for victimless ‘crimes’ on charges that would likely have been dropped anyway,” Freeman said on his blog over the weekend.

Freeman is the last of the so-called ‘Crypto 6’ defendants. Four of his co-defendants took plea deals. The fifth had all charges dropped. His trial is set to begin this week in the United States District Court in Concord, with jury selection starting Tuesday morning. Freeman’s attorney, Mark Sisti, told NHJournal he hopes to give his opening arguments in the case Tuesday afternoon.

Freeman was facing a potential of more than 400 years in prison if convicted of the original 25 charges. Prosecutors dropped all 12 wire fraud counts, three money laundering charges, as well as several other counts including conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud as well as continuing a financial crime enterprise.

The remaining eight counts include conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business, operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, money laundering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and four counts of attempting to evade taxes.

Freeman was arrested in a March 2020 raid at his Keene home along with co-defendants Aria DiMezzo and Nobody, formerly known as Rich Paul. Freeman’s ex-girlfriend Renee Spinella and her husband, Andrew Spinella, were arrested at their homes in Derry. Alstead resident Colleen Fordham was also arrested as part of the bust.

Prosecutors dropped the charges against Fordham early in the case. DiMezzo, Nobody, and the Spinellas ended up taking plea agreements that netted them light sentences. Freeman said on his Free Keene blog taking a plea is always a mistake, and that his friends succumbed to pressure from aggressive prosecutors.

“They stack a ton of charges against you, then threaten to stack even more if you don’t tap out. A few years of probation and a felony starts looking really good compared to 30 years in prison, so it’s understandable why people will take a plea, even though they didn’t actually commit the crime of which they are accused,” Freeman wrote. “The prosecutors love it as they rack up conviction after conviction, ruining innocent peoples’ lives and bolstering the prosecutors’ careers. Plus, they never have to bother preparing for and going to trial. It’s super easy for them and it almost always works.”

Freeman said his friends are now stuck with the convictions on their records, though they likely could have fought the charges and won in court.

“Now they are saddled with felony convictions for the rest of their lives for something that sounds really bad. The reality is, the accusations were simply that they’d lied to a bank, and that it was not even to try to scam the bank out of money, but only to do things like keep an account open,” Freeman wrote.

Freeman is accused of taking in millions of dollars through Bitcoin exchanges and Bitcoin ATMs with the help of DiMezzo and the others. Freeman reportedly 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 DiMezzo’s Reformed Satanic Church in order to conduct their bitcoin businesses. He allegedly lied to banks in opening accounts for his churches and other businesses and got the others to open accounts on his behalf, according to court records. Part of the operation for Freeman was to help cyber criminals swindle money from lonely victims, according to the indictments.

Freeman, DiMezzo, and Nobody are all part of the Free Keene collective, an offshoot of the Free State Project. The Free State Project made a show of kicking Freeman out of the movement in 2014 after he repeatedly advocated for lowering the age of consent. The Free State Project is a Libertarian initiative to overtake the state’s government. Freeman is an advocate of seceding from the United States of America. 

GOP’s Murphy May be Called to Testify in Crypto 6 Case

Keith Murphy, the NHGOP’s hand-picked candidate for state Senate, could end up explaining to a jury his business relationship with the defendants in the infamous Crypto 6 money laundering case.

Ian Freeman, the last of the Keene Crypto 6 defendants headed to trial, faces more than 30 federal felony counts for his Bitcoin business operation, which included running Bitcoin ATMs in various business locations. One of those ATMs was set up in the Manchester location of Murphy’s Taproom, a restaurant owned by the senate candidate.

Freeman’s attorney says he may call Murphy as a witness for the defense.

“All I was doing was providing a little wall space for the machine,” Murphy told NH Journal.

Murphy, a former GOP state representative, was picked by state GOP Chair Stephen Stepanek to replace state Rep. Michael Yakubovich (R-Hooksett) on the November ballot for the District 16 race. Yakubovich dropped out just days after the September 13 primary due to health issues.

“It’s not how you want to be in the Senate, but that’s how it goes,” Murphy said.

Federal law enforcement agents seized the Murphy’s Taproom ATM during the March 2021 raids of several homes and businesses connected to Freeman’s activities. Freeman is accused of operating a multimillion money laundering scheme that helped facilitate online scammers, according to court documents.

Murphy said he has not been in contact with any federal law enforcement agency since the machine was removed.

Freeman’s criminal defense attorney, Mark Sisti, said Murphy may be called as a witness, but it is too early to say definitively. “I don’t know yet,” Sisti said.

 Murphy said he has not been contacted about being a potential witness.

Freeman has maintained he did nothing wrong selling the cryptocurrency through his churches and is adamant that he wants his day in court. Contacted last week, Freeman confirmed he had one of his Shire Free Church Bitcoin ATMs in Murphy’s Taproom since March of 2016.

Murphy said he was never directly involved in exchanging cash for Bitcoin or vice versa. The ATM was in the restaurant as a courtesy for some of his customers, he said.

“We had customers who wanted to pay with Bitcoin,” Murphy said. “This provided a way for them to convert their own money to Bitcoin easily.”

Murphy said he does not remember the exact details of the arrangement he had with Freeman, but said he did not make any money from the machine.

“Occasionally, they would hand me a little money to pay for the electricity. But there was no set fee for the arrangement,” Murphy said.

Murphy’s recollection runs counter to Freeman’s understanding of his own business. According to Freeman, his ATMs brought in money for the host business through a percentage of the total transactions.

“The Shire Free Church is not a business, but we obviously had to compensate our venues for the space/power/internet they provided,” Freeman said. “All our venues received one percent of gross sales from their machine. Many crypto vending machine operators only pay a flat fee per month to their venues. Our venues were very pleased with our arrangement as they did very well on busy months.”

Freeman took in millions of dollars through his Bitcoin exchanges and Bitcoin ATMs, according to court records. He allegedly used personal bank accounts and accounts for made-up churches like the Shire Free Church, the Crypto Church of NH, the Church of the Invisible Hand, and the Reformed Satanic Church, to operate his Bitcoin empire. Part of the scheme Freeman ran helped cyber criminals swindle money from victims of lonely heart scams, according to prosecutors.

Business was good and the government alleges Freeman has secreted away millions of dollars in cash and cryptocurrency.

Four of the other Crypto 6 defendants, Renee Spinella, Andrew Spinella, Aria DiMezzo, and Nobody (also known as Rick Paul), have taken plea deals. The fifth suspect, Colleen Fordham, had her charges dropped earlier this year.

‘Crypto 6’ Freeman Vows to Fight On Despite Plea Agreements

And then there was one. 

Free Keene’s Ian Freeman is the last of the Crypto 6 suspects headed for trial after his co-defendant, self-described trans Satanic anarchist Aria DiMezzo filed a plea agreement in U.S. District Court in Concord.

DiMezzo, 34, will become the fourth suspect to take a plea, following Nobody, formerly known as Rich Paul, 55, Renee Spinella, 26, and Andrew Spinella, 36. The sixth suspect, Colleen Fordham, 63, had the charges against her dropped earlier this year.

Freeman is facing 30 indictments for the alleged scheme.

DiMezzo is pleading guilty to one count of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business that moved between $1.5 and $3.5 million. Her plea agreement states she could face up to five years in prison at sentencing, but will likely be sentenced to a lesser prison term under the deal.

DiMezzo’s attorney, Richard Guerriero, declined to comment before the hearing.

Freeman, 42, vowed to fight the charges against him at trial and blamed the government for persecuting DiMezzo.

“Despite not having any obligation to file any such paperwork in New Hampshire, the federal gang is saying that because Aria didn’t file ‘money transmitter’ papers with them, that now she will be a felon for the rest of her life and may spend years in prison,” Freeman said. “I don’t believe that there is an obligation to file as a money transmitter in order to sell bitcoin, and I’m looking forward to a jury’s decision on that.”

Freeman’s attorney, Mark Sisti, confirmed his client is not taking a plea deal and plans to go to trial.

Freeman is accused of taking in millions of dollars through their Bitcoin exchanges and Bitcoin ATMs with the help of DiMezzo and the others. Freeman reportedly 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 DiMezzo’s Reformed Satanic Church, in order to conduct the bitcoin businesses. He allegedly lied to banks in opening accounts for his churches and other businesses and got the others to open accounts on his behalf, according to court records. Part of the operation for Freeman was to help cyber criminals swindle money from lonely victims, according to the indictments.

Freeman is currently running for state Senate as a Republican.

Freeman, DiMezzo, and Nobody are all part of the Free Keene collective, an offshoot of the Free State Project. The Free State Project made a show of kicking Freeman out of the movement in 2014 after he repeatedly advocated for lowering the age of consent. The Free State Project is a Libertarian initiative to overtake the state’s government. Freeman is an advocate of seceding from the United States of America.

Third Crypto 6 Defendant Sentenced in Fraud Case

A third member of the so-called Crypto 6, Andrew Spinella, was sentenced to no jail time last week for his role in the alleged Bitcoin money laundering scheme. 

Spinella was sentenced on Aug. 30 to 18 months probation and a $600 fine in the United States District Court in Concord. He pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud earlier this year. His wife Renee Spinella, 26, was sentenced last week to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $2,000 in fines. She also previously pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.

Free Keene activist Nobody, formerly Rich Paul, 55, was sentenced to two years of supervised release last month.

That leaves just two of the original six defendants, Ian Freeman, 42, and Aria DiMezzo, 34, now headed for trial on more than 30 felony counts each. Colleen Fordham 62, of Alstead, had the charges against her dropped earlier this year.

Renee Spinella is Freeman’s ex-girlfriend, though the two stayed friendly after they split and after she married Andrew Spinella. The Spinellas reportedly opened bank accounts for Freeman to use as part of his multi-million Bitcoin money laundering operation, according to prosecutors.

Freeman and DiMezzo are accused of taking in millions of dollars through their Bitcoin exchanges and Bitcoin ATMs. The pair 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, to conduct their Bitcoin businesses. The pair allegedly lied to banks in opening their accounts and got others to open accounts on their behalf, according to court records. Part of the operation for Freeman was to help cyber criminals swindle money from lonely victims, according to the indictments.

Freeman and DiMezzo are currently seeking to have some of the charges dismissed. A hearing on their motion to dismiss is set for Thursday.

Freeman’s Ex Pleads to Wire Fraud in Crypto Scheme

Renee Spinella, charged in the federal wire-fraud case centered on Free Keene’s Ian Freeman, will not go to jail as part of her plea agreement. 

Spinella, 26, was sentenced to three years of supervised release on Thursday in United States District Court in Concord for her role in the money laundering and wire fraud scheme.

Spinella is one of six people charged in the alleged multi-million scheme, and currently one of three people to take plea deals. Her husband, Andrew Spinella, 36, pleaded guilty earlier this year and is awaiting sentencing. Free Keene activist Nobody, formerly Rich Paul, 55, was sentenced to two years of supervised release last month.

Of the remaining suspects, Collene Fordham 63, of Alstead, had the charges against her dropped. That leaves Freeman, 42, and Aria DiMezzo, 34, facing more than 30 indictments in the case. The pair are fighting the charges in court and seeking to have some charges dismissed.

Renee Spinella started living with Freeman when she was 16 after running away from her parents according to court records. She stayed with Freeman until she was 19, but remained within his orbit, according to court records. The pair even shared custody of a dog after their breakup. 

Renee Spinella is accused of opening bank accounts for Freeman to use for his various money laundering schemes, according to court reads. Most of this activity took place when she was between the ages of 21 and 24, according to court records.

Freeman and DiMezzo are accused of taking in millions of dollars through their Bitcoin exchanges and Bitcoin ATMs. The pair 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 to open accounts on their behalf, according to court records. Part of the operation for Freeman was to help cyber criminals swindle money from lonely victims, according to the indictments.

Freeman reportedly has access to millions in cash and cryptocurrency, according to prosecutors.

Freeman is no stranger to local politics. He is currently running as a Republican in Senate District 10. DiMezzo made an unsuccessful campaign for Cheshire County sheriff in 2020 as the only Republican in the race.

Freeman, DiMezzo, and Nobody are all part of the Free Keene collective, an offshoot of the Free State Project. The Free State Project made a show of kicking Freeman out of the movement in 2014 after he repeatedly advocated for lowering the age of consent. The Free State Project is a Libertarian initiative to overtake the state’s government. Freeman is also an advocate of seceding from the United States.

In 2015, federal agents took Freeman’s computers, hard drive, and other devices as part of the child sex abuse image investigation that so far has not produced an indictment or charge, or apparently turned up any evidence. Freeman is currently suing the FBI to get his devices returned.

As part of her sentence, Renee Spinella was fined $2,000. According to court records, her actions were responsible for more than $78,000 in fraud.

Freeman Files for State Senate, Wants Ankle Monitor Removed

Ian Freeman, a libertarian activist currently facing dozens of federal felony charges related to his alleged Bitcoin money laundering, is now running for state Senate in New Hampshire.

The race for the District 10 Senate seat is wide open since incumbent Democrat Jay Kahn announced he is not seeking reelection. Freeman said he intends to serve his term in office even if he gets convicted in the money laundering case.

“I know one cannot run for office in New Hampshire when serving a felony sentence. But I don’t know what the law is regarding being convicted or sentenced while in office,” Freeman said. “Presuming it’s allowed, and they don’t remove me automatically, I would not step down, as having no senator in District 10 is preferable to one who votes against liberty as Jay Kahn often did.”

Cheshire County Republican Committee Chair Richard Merkt has not been in contact with Freeman but said the libertarian activist and former member of the Free State Project has every right to run for office.

“He’s a libertarian, but he’s registered as a Republican,” Merkt said.

There will be other Republicans who file for the seat in the coming days, according to Merkt, and Freeman is unlikely to have an open shot at the nomination.

“I want the GOP to provide a credible alternative to the Democrats,” Merkt said.

Freeman said given the current ballot access laws in New Hampshire, is it easier for him to run as a Republican than a libertarian.

“As you may know, New Hampshire’s ballot access laws make it difficult to run as a third party. Running as a libertarian would cost many hours of gathering 700 valid signatures – probably gotta shoot for 1,500 as they will try to disqualify them – whereas running for New Hampshire Senate as a major party is only $10,” Freeman said. “If the parties ever make ballot access equal for smaller parties, then perhaps fewer libertarians will run under the majors’ labels. I understand some in those parties are frustrated by the infiltration of libertarians, but they did it to themselves by keeping third parties off the ballot.”

Freeman’s run under the GOP banner is reminiscent of Aria DiMezzo’s campaign for Cheshire County Sheriff in 2020. Identifying as a trans and Satanic anarchist, DiMezzo was the only Republican in the race. DiMezzo lost the election and is currently one of Freeman’s co-defendants in the money laundering case.

“I can’t read their minds, I couldn’t tell you what their intentions are,” Merkt said.

Freeman is currently trying to get the federal court to remove the electronic ankle monitor he is required to wear pending trial. A hearing on that motion is set for later this month. The government is objecting to the removal, claiming Freeman has already violated his conditions of release.

According to the prosecution’s motion, Freeman used his girlfriend, Bonnie Kruse, to attempt to access more than $160,000 he has deposited in a Blockchain account. Freeman was ordered not to access any of his digital currency accounts as part of his conditions of release. He was also ordered not to have a third party access the money for him.

The government also suggested Freeman has been underreporting his holdings, and may have millions of dollars in currency, digital and otherwise, secreted away. Freeman has been ordered to not discuss his case. His attorney, Mark Sisti, declined to comment on the allegations.

“There’ll be plenty of comment when the time is right,” Sisti said.

Freeman and DiMezzo are facing dozens of criminal charges for allegedly taking in millions of dollars through their Bitcoin exchanges and Bitcoin ATMs. They also used personal bank accounts and accounts for alleged made-up churches like the Shire Free Church, the Crypto Church of NH, the Church of the Invisible Hand, and the Reformed Satanic Church, in order to conduct their bitcoin businesses, according to the charges. They allegedly lied to banks in opening their accounts and got others to open accounts on their behalf, according to court records. Part of the operation for Freeman was to help cyber criminals swindle money from lonely victims, according to the indictments.

Freeman and DiMezzo were arrested last year along with four other suspects, all of whom have pleaded guilty or had their charges dropped.

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. Andrew Spinella, in fact, will not serve any time behind bars. Prosecutors also dropped the indictment against Colleen Fordham, 62.

Freeman, DiMezzo, and Nobody are all part of the Free Keene collective, an offshoot of the Free State Project. The Free State Project made a show of kicking Freeman out of the movement in 2014 after he repeatedly advocated for lowering the age of consent. The Free State Project is an initiative to concentrate libertarians in a small state and have an oversized effect on state governance. Freeman is also an advocate of seceding from the United States.

First of the Crypto 6 Suspects Takes Plea

CONCORD — Andrew Spinella is skipping prison as part of the plea agreement he entered in the Keene Crypto 6 money laundering case.

Spinella, 36, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud on Tuesday. Two other federal conspiracy charges are being dropped as part of the deal.

While the agreement does not explicitly require Spinella to testify against alleged ringleader Ian Freeman, the charge itself implicates Freeman in a scheme to defraud banks.

Spinella pleaded guilty to a wire fraud count stating he created bank accounts in his own name, and then gave control of these accounts over to Freeman in order to allow Freeman to use the accounts to sell Bitcoin. Assistant United States Attorney Georgiana MacDonald told Judge Joseph Laplante the government has text messages between Andrew Spinella and his wife, Renee Spinella, detailing the scheme.

MacDonald said Renee Spinella explained to her husband in the texts similar bank accounts she opened for Freeman had been closed because of banking laws.

Laplante asked Andrew Spinella point-blank if he was guilty during Tuesday’s hearing.

“I feel with everything going on, if I were to take it to trial, it would make it far worse,” he told the judge.

Laplante pressed Spinella on his guilt, saying he could not accept a guilty plea if Spinella did think he was guilty of the crime charged.

“I don’t mean guilty in some cosmic sense,” Laplante said.

Spinella continued that it would be worse for him if he took the case to trial and if he was tried with the five other defendants. Laplante again asked if he was guilty.

“There’s too much evidence that says that I am,” Spinella said.

Renee Spinella, 25, was also scheduled to enter into a plea agreement, but she did not appear in court Tuesday. She was reportedly feeling unwell and her hearing is now set for Thursday. Renee Spinella is also currently charged with conspiracy along with Freeman, her ex-boyfriend. Freeman, 42, Colleen Fordham, 62, of Alstead, Nobody (formerly Richard Paul), 54, of Keene, and Aria DiMezzo, 36, of Keene, are all charged with conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business.

Observing Tuesday’s hearing were Freeman’s attorney, Mark Sisti, and DiMezzo’s attorney, Richard Guerriero.

Freeman is a long-time libertarian activist who first moved to New Hampshire as part of the Free State Project. That organization distanced itself from Freemen in 2014 when he repeatedly used his radio show to call for lowering the age of consent.

In 2015, federal agents raided Freeman’s Keene home and seized dozens of computers and other devices as part of an investigation into the alleged possession of child sex abuse images. No charges were ever brought in the case. Freeman filed a lawsuit against the FBI agent who obtained the search warrant last week.

Nobody (Richard Paul) did jail time for a drug conviction in 2014 and has run for both mayor of Keene and governor of New Hampshire. He was held the longest in jail after the money laundering arrest last year, due in part to his threats against law enforcement.

DiMezzo, who describes herself as a trans satanic anarchist, ran unsuccessfully for Cheshire County sheriff as a Republican in 2020.

Freeman and DiMezzo both started churches that the indictments claim they used as part of the $10 million money-laundering scheme. According to court records, since 2016, the defendants have operated a business that enabled criminal customers to exchange over $10 million in fiat currency for virtual currency, charging a fee for their service. They operated their virtual currency exchange business using websites, as well as operating virtual currency ATM machines in New Hampshire.

Prosecutors claim Freeman knew he was laundering ill-gotten money from criminals. The indictment alleges the defendants knowingly operated the virtual currency exchange business in violation of federal anti-money laundering laws and regulations. Additionally, the indictment alleges some defendants opened bank accounts, some in the names of purported religious entities, like DiMezzo’s Satanic Temple.

Agents took dozens of guns and close to $200,000 in cash out of Freeman’s Keene homes during the March 2021 raid when he and the others were arrested. He was estimated to have more than $1.6 million in cryptocurrency at his disposal that authorities know about, according to court records.