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Elderly Bitcoin Scam Victims Delay Freeman Case as Judge Considers Longer Sentence

Free State Project icon Ian Freeman walked into his sentencing hearing in the Warren B. Rudman Courthouse in Concord a hero, but he walked out a couple of hours later labeled a black-souled villain by one of the many alleged victims.

In a courtroom packed with Free Staters, Freeman got two standing ovations at the start of Monday’s proceedings. He had reason to be optimistic as Judge Joseph LaPlante agreed to dismiss one of his money laundering convictions before the hearing started. LaPlante said it was a close call, but there was not sufficient evidence to support the jury’s verdict for that one count.

That was the last positive development for Freeman. Soon, LaPlante decided to hear from some of the women victimized by Freeman’s Bitcoin operations.

“My life, and countless other lives, have been ruined,” Rebecca Viar said.

Freeman is facing years in federal prison, but now thanks to women like Viar, he could face even more. LaPlante halted Monday’s scheduled sentencing hearing in order to consider adding more time to the potential penalty in light of the many elderly women scammed with Freeman’s aid. He’s also considering making Freeman pay up to $3.4 million in restitution. 

A jury convicted Freeman in December 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 argued that he’s a victim of an oppressive government, a martyr for promoting financial liberation from fiat currency. His defense team is still pushing the theory, even after the convictions, claiming the financial laws and regulations used to convict him don’t apply to financial products like Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

But Viar and other women hurt by scammers told a different story. In their version, Freeman was central to the crimes that took advantage of their loneliness, destroyed their finances, stripped them of a secure retirement, and forever took away their trust in other people.

“Ian Freeman was the planner and instigator of this entire scheme,” Viar said.

Viar, an elderly widow, was ripped off by an online romance scammer known as Michael Glenn Wilson. The crook, who has thus far not been charged, used Freeman’s Bitcoin-selling services to facilitate the crimes, according to prosecutors.

In Viar’s case, she emptied her savings account, cashed out her insurance policy, took out loans, and even sold her dead husband’s truck. Rather than send the money directly to Wilson, he conned his alleged victims into buying Bitcoin from Freeman. The Bitcoin was then deposited into a digital wallet Wilson could access.

Karen Miller was planning to retire to Florida with her husband when he died in 2018. Miller still moved to the Sunshine State after her husband’s death, but found herself lonely. She met a man named Jerry Harmon online, and before long she was sending him money.

Miller handed over everything to her online Romeo, to the tune of $300,000. She kept going, too, maxing out credit cards for Harmon. Like Viar, Harmon was instructed to buy Bitcoins directly from Freeman, which Harmon would then access through a digital wallet. Harmon, who has never been caught, even had Miller buying Bitcoin using money from other women. Harmon told her these women were the wives and girlfriends of his employees.

Miller finally stopped when other Harmon victims reached out to her and told her the truth. Now, instead of enjoying her golden years as a Florida retiree, Miller is working at a Publix grocery store.

Freeman’s lawyers, respected criminal defense attorneys Marc Sisti and Richard Guerrero, never considered the women victims in this case. Freeman was caught for failing to adhere to financial and banking regulations. He was never accused of being a scammer.

Prosecutors have argued Freeman either knew, or at best actively worked to not know, he was facilitating crimes with his Bitcoin transactions. Freeman was known throughout the Bitcoin community for charging higher fees than other market operators, and for asking fewer questions, prosecutors have said.

But LaPlante implied Monday Freeman wasn’t merely laundering money for the scammers, he was taking a role in the scam. Freeman was taking money from the victims and then sending it to the criminals.

LaPlante said it is likely he will rule that Freeman needs to pay restitution to the many scam victims who bought Bitcoin from him. LaPlante also said he would adopt a “vulnerable victim adjustment” to the sentencing guidelines, increasing the range of prison time LaPlante could use for his final sentencing order.

After the hearing, Freeman remained upbeat. He’s still confident of ultimate victory in his caase, even if that means going through the appeals process. Getting one of the money laundering charges dismissed is a good sign, he said.

“Being able to challenge these things after the fact is a nice thing,” Freeman said.

As for the victims like Viar and Miller, Freeman said he has no guilt for what happened to them.

“It seems like they’ve been lied to and told I had something to do with these crimes against them, which I didn’t,” Freeman said. “I didn’t have anything more to do with what happened to them than the bank tellers that sent their life savings away. If anything, our procedures were even more in-depth than what the bank tellers were doing.”

Trump Campaign Taps NH Activist Touting Fringe Conspiracies

Terese Bastarache (formerly known as Terese Grinnell) is having a good week — despite the vast global conspiracy working against her.

Monday night, on the eve of Bastarache’s criminal trial over charges of disrupting a state meeting, the state of New Hampshire dropped its case.

On Tuesday, former President Donald Trump’s campaign announced Bastarache, an outspoken anti-vaccination activist and conspiracy theory proponent, will be its Trump 2024 “town captain” in Loudon.

“Today, President Donald J. Trump announced his initial New Hampshire Grassroots Leadership Team with over 150 dedicated activists and organizers throughout the Granite State’s ten counties,” the campaign said in a press release. “These supporters represent the overwhelming strength of the MAGA Movement and will again propel President Trump to win the First-in-the-Nation primary.”

The campaign released an impressive list of 14 county and city/town chairs, featuring respected names in the party like longtime Republican activist Augusta Petrone. They also released the names of more than 100 town and ward captains, including Bastarache.

Bastarache is one of the self-declared “Noble 9,” a group of anti-vaccination activists charged with disrupting the October 2021 Executive Council Meeting. Their goal was to stop New Hampshire from accepting federal funding for COVID-19 vaccines. (The Executive Council voted 4-1 to reject the funding.)

A month earlier, Bastarache and fellow activist Frank Staples shouted down the September meeting so aggressively the Executive Council canceled it, citing security concerns.

“This is bigger than my case,” Bastarache said Tuesday after the charges were dropped. “This is about the corruption, collusion, and entrapment of civilians. This was a violation of every New Hampshire constituent’s constitutional rights.”

Bastarache, a registered nurse, has made her views on the COVID vaccine, government mandates, and public health policy very public since the pandemic began. She has likened the federal government’s COVID policies to Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews.

“It will take away our Live Free or Die; it will make us unsafe,” Bastarache said at the September 2021 protest. “People are dying from the injections, this is Numenberg [sic] trials!”

The Nazi comparisons did not stop there. In an October 2021 appearance at Christian Revolution in Manchester, Bastarache denounced COVID protocols tied to federal vaccine funding.

“It’s the Holocaust,” she said.

And in an interview with Free State Project leader Carla Gericke, her COVID protests started her down a “rabbit hole” of research, bringing her to believe in the Agenda 2030 conspiracy. That is the theory that a World Economic Forum cabal intends to institute a one-world government through depopulation. Included in the conspiracy claims are the Sununu family, New Hampshire inventor of the Segway scooter Dean Kamen, the Chinese Communist government, Jeffrey Epstein, Bill Gates, Harvard University, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Lloyd’s of London, and WalMart.

“Then I find out [Sununu’s] brother works for the World Economic Forum, and they’re being very bold and brazen about accelerating Agenda 2030,” Bastarache said. “I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is truly happening.’”

Bastarache’s Truth Social feed is full of conspiracy memes linking Sununu to Agenda 2030 and links to groups like Grazing The Surface, which purport to uncover the New Hampshire ties to the nefarious world domination plot.

Bastarache also believes the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent, and she is part of the ‘We the People’ organization, along with election denier Marilyn Todd, pushing that oft-disproven theory.

COVID, Conspiracies, and Cannabis: RFK Jr. Does PorcFest

It was a hot Thursday morning and the air in the PorcFest Pavilion in Lancaster and, as hundreds waited in the sun to see Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the air was thick with excitement.

And pot. And the scents that come with the presence of a large number of dogs.

It also didn’t help that the central bathroom with showers, located near the Norse pagan spiritual village, was out of order. The adjacent port-a-potties were also shut. It was hoped that would all be fixed before Thursday night’s scheduled free couples shower event. 

This was the environment RFK Jr. stepped into when he showed up for Porcfest, the Free State Project’s annual gathering in the White Mountains. Once he took the stage, the air was full of something else familiar at FSP gatherings: Anti-government conspiracy theories.

Kennedy’s appearance at this libertarian event upset Democrats like New Hampshire state party chairman Ray Buckley, who sent the Democratic presidential candidate a plea not to participate.

“Free Staters are nearly universally Republican primary voters; they are highly unlikely to vote in the Democratic Primary,” Buckley wrote. “Free Staters view with hostility our candidates, elected officials, values, and our party as a whole.”

Given the hostility Kennedy’s candidacy has received from his fellow Democrats — including candidates and elected officials — that latter point may have been moot.

And if the state Democratic Party wasn’t thrilled by RFK Jr. showing up at PorcFest, not every Free Stater was happy about it, either. Kennedy’s security requirements involved a ban on firearms in the Pavilion, no small feat at an event that often appears to be a walking gun show.

Guns are everywhere at PorcFest. People brought their AR-15s to the dog meet-up (though there was a conspicuous lack of doggie clean-up bags). They wore rifles on slings when grilling burgers or buying tacos. And so, while Kennedy spoke, there was a small pro-gun protest about 100 yards away at the self-declared “grassy knoll.”

It was a joke that could be considered offensive to a Kennedy family member, except that RFK Jr. believes a government-backed conspiracy murdered his uncle.

And while Kennedy and the FSP crowd may have disagreed on guns, they found plenty of common ground on the overall premise that government is a major part of America’s problems.

In his speech, Kennedy rolled through a tale of CIA operations to create bioweapons, totalitarian attempts to subvert the Constitution, Microsoft founder Bill Gates working behind the scene with Dr. Anthony Fauci to create a fake vaccine — with a couple of side trips through the dangers of the Patriot Act.

And, because he is Kennedy, there was a long discourse on environmental law administrative proceedings.

Kennedy’s appearance was largely a hit with the crowd. Suffering from spasmodic dysphonia, a rare voice disorder,  he delivered his stump speech like a raspy internal monologue that appeared to start in the middle of a conversation he was already having. He soon got to the FSP applause lines: Vaccine conspiracies, promises to free Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, and support for cryptocurrency.

The crowd quieted quickly, however, when Kennedy was asked about his support for the Second Amendment.

“I support a less than expansive view of the Second Amendment,” Kennedy confessed. “But, I’m not going to take away anyone’s guns as president of the United States.”

Jim Babb, one of the libertarians attending, said Kennedy’s views on gun rights are somewhat disturbing.

“I thought that was very weak. He talks about wanting to respect the Constitution, but I’m more interested in the fundamental right of self-defense,” Babb said. “He doesn’t really seem committed to human rights.”

Free Stater Tom Schnaidt first became interested in Kennedy at the start of the COVID pandemic and said he is still interested in his fight against the pharmaceutical industry. Schnaidt applauded Kennedy for telling the truth about his gun views, even if it did not appeal to the crowd.

“He’s running for president of the United States. New Hampshire is one of 50 states and one of just 13 that allows open carry,” Schnaidt said. “This audience would have sniffed him out if he got up there and made promises that were undeliverable.”

Tim Storrs is less concerned about Kennedy’s position on guns as he is that Kennedy did not address issues like the truth of the 9/11 attacks, the real origins of the Patriot Act, and how viruses are not real.

“The idea that viruses don’t exist whatsoever is not something that he admits very readily, and I don’t expect him to necessarily, and he’s already talked about this as something that divides the medical freedom community,” Storrs said.

Kennedy ended his talk by hailing the courage of New Hampshire Revolutionary War hero Gen. John Stark, who gave the Granite State its iconic “Live Free or Die” motto.

His wife, Molly Stark, viewed by some as equally courageous, might also have been worth a mention.

Molly Stark nursed her husband’s troops suffering from a smallpox outbreak during the war, turning the Stark home into a hospital. She petitioned New Hampshire for permission to inoculate her family from the dreaded disease but was denied.

Inoculation was considered too experimental and dangerous at the time.

Convicted Bitcoin Money Launderer Now Wants NH to Secede

Maybe hoping the new Republic of New Hampshire won’t sign an extradition treaty, Free Keene’s Ian Freeman is taking to the skies this weekend, encouraging the Granite State to leave the U.S.A.

Freeman is part of NHExit, a small group of so-called ‘liberty activists’ whose members in the state House of Representatives put forward a bill last year to have New Hampshire secede from the U.S. He’s also due in U.S. District Court in Concord later this summer to be sentenced in his money laundering and tax evasion convictions. He faces up to eight years in prison.

“The point is just to raise awareness, there’s only so much you can put up on a banner,” Freeman said Friday.

This weekend, NHExit is paying a pilot to fly a small airplane over the state carrying a banner urging New Hampshire to ditch D.C. and declare independence. 

“Washington is the reason we can’t have nice things,” said Dave Ridley, a member of Freeman’s orbit.

Ridley said part of the inspiration for the pro-secession flight stunt is the FBI raid on Freeman’s home and businesses three years ago that landed him in legal hot water. 

“In part, this is a reaction to Federal raids on New Hampshire’s Bitcoin businesses,” Ridley said.

Freeman said Friday the plane has nothing to do with his convictions, and is not sure what Ridley is talking about. For Freeman, it’s all about educating people about the secession movement. NHExit is going to be releasing polling data from the University of New Hampshire that shows about half of New Hampshire residents haven’t even heard of the movement. 

“Right now, it is not very (realistic) and there’s a long way to go to change people’s minds,” Freeman said. “There are a lot of questions that will need to be answered.”

The plane will fly over Manchester, Concord, and Nashua on Saturday as part of the effort to rally like-minded secessionists to the cause. Perhaps it will end up being more popular than NHExit’s secession bill, which got just 13 votes in New Hampshire’s 400-member legislature.

Big changes, like a state leaving the U.S. to form an independent country, can happen and happen peacefully, Freeman said. He pointed to Great Britain’s exit from the European Union, and the continuing changes to the legal status of recreational drugs.

“It might take a couple of decades, but we can change people’s mind on this,” Freeman said.

Freeman was found guilty 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.

He 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, but her charges were dropped.

According to prosecutors, Freeman took in millions of dollars through Bitcoin exchanges and Bitcoin ATMs with the help of DiMezzo and the others. He 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 to conduct the Bitcoin businesses. 

According to court records, Freeman allegedly lied to banks in opening accounts for his churches and other businesses and got the others to open accounts on his behalf. Part of Freeman’s operation was helping cyber criminals swindle money from lonely victims, the indictments revealed.

Freeman was one of the original Free State pioneers in New Hampshire, part of the libertarian movement to change state politics. He was considered an instrumental evangelist for the movement until 2014, when he made repeated comments on his radio show advocating lowering the age of consent for sex with minors. The Free State Project formally distanced itself from Freemen at the time.

 

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. 

Libertarian Charged With Assaulting Bolduc Now Banned From St A’s

Joa Orga, aka Joe Hart, the Libertarian activist accused of assaulting GOP Senate candidate Don Bolduc Wednesday night, is banned from St. Anselm College property and facing charges of criminal trespass and disorderly conduct. 

“He hit me,” Bolduc is seen saying in a video that captured the brief interaction with Orga.

The incident took place as Bolduc was greeting supporters ahead of his debate with Democratic incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan. At least one fellow Libertarian says Orga never touched Bolduc.

Goffstown police stated Thursday that Orga, 37, had been told to leave the property by college staff before Bolduc arrived at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics for the debate. Witnesses told NH Journal Orga was seen shouting obscenities and making bizarre statements before Bolduc got there.

Libertarian activist Ian Freeman released videos late Wednesday disputing the narrative that Orga assaulted Bolduc, as Bolduc and at least one other witness claim.

“The guy came at Gen. Bolduc in a threatening way, and he chest bumped or pushed Gen. Bolduc,” said Chris Ager, chairman of the Hillsborough County GOP Committee.

The videos showed Orga, holding what appeared to be a cell phone on a selfie stick, moving quickly toward Bolduc. In a quick sequence of events, Orga made some type of movement before Hillsborough County GOP Chair Chris Ager and another man moved to get Orga away from Bolduc. Police, already circling the area, quickly descended on the group and separated everyone. Bolduc was seen pointing at Orga and saying he was hit.

Bolduc later told a staffer the blow “glanced off” him. He also mentioned it during the debate, in response to a question about political violence and the recent attack on the husband of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

“I am really sorry for what happened to the Speaker’s husband,” Bolduc said. “Nobody should have that happen to them anywhere in America. But it’s a sign of the times. It’s a sign of political problems. Republicans and Democrats fuel issues with people that get them to the point where they are just so upset at an individual that they strike out at them. That’s what happened to me outside, just before I came in here.”

Freeman says Bolduc is lying about the incident, and that Orga never assaulted him. The videos do not show Orga throwing a punch.

“The campaign and Bolduc himself are lying. Joa never threw a punch nor did he even try to touch Bolduc. He did approach him and yell at him about being a warmonger, that’s it,” Freeman said.

Freeman is no stranger to law enforcement. He is currently heading to trial on dozens of federal charges accusing him of money laundering and wire fraud. Freeman was, on paper, kicked out of the Free State Project in 2014 after he repeatedly advocated for lowering the age of consent laws. Despite that public disavowal, Freeman is a frequent presence at Free State Project functions. He was an invited speaker at this year’s Free State Project annual PorcFest.

Orga, a self-described police auditor, has a history of negative interactions with law enforcement. In 2019 he was arrested inside the Worcester, Mass. police station for allegedly being disruptive while filming police. That same year he allegedly cyber-stalked the wife of a Rhode Island police officer after the officer stopped him for a traffic violation.

Orga is free on personal recognizance bail and will be arraigned on Dec. 1 at the Goffstown District Court. The incident remains under investigation and Goffstown police ask anyone with additional information to contact Detective Sergeant Kevin Laroche at (603) 497-4858.

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.

Manchester Dem Rep Resigns, But Still On Primary Ballot

Democrat Manchester Rep. Andrew Bouldin resigned his House seat in early August, nearly two months after filing for re-election to serve a third term in Concord.

Now, Democrats are stuck with a candidate on the ballot who may or may not intend to serve should he win re-election and could eventually trigger a special election to fill the vacancy.

Bouldin was first elected in 2018 along with his then-incumbent wife, Rep. Amanda Bouldin, D-Manchester, in a district that leans Democrat representing Manchester’s Ward 5. Andrew Bouldin was set to run for a third term in the fall, signing up for the election this summer. His name is printed on the September primary ballots, and can not be removed according to Anna Fay, spokesperson for the N.H. Secretary of State’s office.

With no contest in the primary, both Bouldins are likely to move forward to the November general election, save for a last-minute Democrat write-in campaign to try to best Andrew next Tuesday.

“The candidate’s name would remain on the ballot unless they are disqualified (which would happen if they move to another district, for example). If the candidate is disqualified, the candidate’s party is given the opportunity to fill the vacancy,” Fay said. The Secretary of State’s office notes they have not been informed of any disqualifying factors in this instance, and therefore can not declare a candidate vacancy.

Paul Smith, the clerk for the House of Representatives, confirmed Andrew Bouldin’s resignation. The matter has yet to be formally announced to the House, but Smith said it will be part of the next session. Bouldin is the 16th resignation of the session and the 23rd overall vacancy created. Five seats were filled by special elections, three went to Democrats (one pickup, Catherine Rombeau of Bedford) and two were held by Republicans.

In a year Republicans are expected to outperform their averages, the point may be moot. Republican Lisa Freeman won a seat in Manchester’s ward 5 in 2016, edging out Andrew Bouldin by six votes. This year, Scott Mattiello is the lone Republican running in the district so far, but Republicans could nominate a second candidate with 35 write-in votes, or the N.H. Republican Party could appoint a nominee in the days following the primary.

Andrew Bouldin did not respond to a request for comment on his resignation. He was elected in 2018 promising to use his time in the State House to address the opioid epidemic, to reform Valley Street Jail, and to support other progressive causes.

“As your Representative in Concord, I will support expanded access to healthcare including reproductive care and addiction treatment, a minimum wage increase, workers’ rights, clean and efficient energy, access to quality public education for all students, and the right of every eligible voter to vote,” he told Manchester InkLink in his 2018 candidacy announcement.

House Minority Leader Rep. David Cote, D-Nashua, did not respond to a request for comment. Nor did Manchester Democratic Committee chair Alan Raff.

Andrew Bouldin was a reliable progressive vote in the House. In the last session, Andrew Bouldin voted against cutting the business profits tax, he voted against the parental bill of rights, he voted against letting churches and other houses of worship stay open during states of emergency, he voted against displaying the motto “In God We Trust” in schools, and he voted against a ban on late-term abortions.

That progressive voice will go missing even if Andrew Bouldin wins in November. If Andrew Bouldin wins, and declines to be sworn in, the seat will remain open until a vacancy is declared by the House, which could trigger a special election, according to the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Office. There’s little Democrats can do unless they find a last-minute write-in candidate that can exceed Bouldin’s vote total on Tuesday.

Amanda Bouldin, Andrew Bouldin’s wife and fellow representative of the district has not resigned her seat and is running for re-relection. Amanda Bouldin also did not respond to a request for comment.

Amanda Bouldin moved to New Hampshire in 2008 as part of the libertarian Free State Project, though she’s since moved to the left. Amanda Bouldin’s voting record is largely similar to her husband’s, and she cosponsored a bill to repeal the state’s 24-week abortion ban.

The Bouldins will have one Republican challenger on the ballot in Scott Mattiello. He could not be reached for comment.