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U.S. Arrests Cash-Flaunting Russian Rapper for Cryptocurrency Laundering

Maxim Boyko's Instagram and iCloud accounts "include photographs of him with substantial sums of U.S. and foreign currencies,” an FBI agent said. Safron Golikov / TASS

The FBI has arrested a Russian rapper in the United States on cryptocurrency laundering charges after finding photographs of him flashing large sums of money on social media, authorities have said.

Maxim Boyko, 29, was arrested at a Miami condo Saturday, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, after arriving in the U.S. with his wife in January. The FBI alleged that Boyko, who told customs agents that his earnings come from Bitcoin investments and rental properties in Russia, is a “significant cybercriminal” who launders stolen funds for other cybercriminals.

“[Boyko’s] Instagram social media and Apple iCloud accounts include photographs of him with substantial sums of U.S. and foreign currencies dating back as far as 2015,” an FBI agent said in a request for an arrest warrant on March 27.

The FBI traced his iCloud account, which used his rap alias Plinofficial, to one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges BTC-e. It said Boyko’s account had received almost $388,000 and withdrawn 136 Bitcoin until authorities seized BTC-e in mid-2017. The FBI detailed other fraudulent transactions in and after 2017.

Boyko is also alleged to be linked to an organized crime group known as QQAAZZ. The FBI alleges that it facilitated the theft of “tens of millions of dollars.”

Boyko faces up to 10 years in prison.

Plinofficial was active on social media as late as this weekend, tweeting about Miami resembling “zombieland” due to the coronavirus outbreak and publishing a new freestyle track.

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