New ‘romance scam’ allegations in virtual currency case
CONCORD (AP) — A New Hampshire man accused of running an unlicensed virtual currency exchange business faces additional allegations related to the enterprise, such as profiting from “romance scams.”
Ian Freeman, of Keene, was first charged last year with wire fraud, money laundering, operating a continuing financial crimes enterprise, and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business. He pleaded not guilty and faces a federal trial Nov. 1.
Freeman, a leader of the libertarian Free Keene group and radio show host, was indicted Monday on new counts related to the business, including conspiracy-related charges.
The indictment alleges that he opened bank accounts at financial institutions while deceiving the institutions about the nature of the business being transacted through the accounts. It alleges that some of the transactions facilitated the transfer of the proceeds of scams, such as “romance scams.”
His lawyer, Mark Sisti, said Freeman will be entering a not guilty plea and is still planning for trial.
“It’s generally the same basic structure as the first one,” he said of the new indictment.
Aria DiMezzo, a co-defendant, also was indicted on some of the same charges. She also plans to plead not guilty. She “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,” her attorney, Richard Guerriero, said in a statement Wednesday.
Freeman, DiMezzo and four others were arrested in March 2021. Three pleaded guilty to wire fraud in opening accounts at financial institutions in their names or in the names of churches to allow someone to use the accounts to sell virtual currency. They face sentencing in July. Charges were dropped against the fourth person.