Former Shreveport chiropractor, son sentenced for illegal bitcoin scheme
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - A former Shreveport chiropractor and his son are headed to federal prison for funneling money through an unlawful bitcoin financial scheme.
Randall Lord, 58, and his 29-year-old son Michael Lord were sentenced Wednesday to 46 months and 106 months in prison, respectively, according to acting U.S. Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook.
They were also sentenced to one year and three years of supervised release, respectively.
The sentencing comes after both men pleaded guilty back in April to one count of conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money servicing business.
Michael Lord also pleaded guilty to one count of drug conspiracy for agreeing to distribute controlled dangerous substances to include alprazolam, a Schedule IV controlled substance.
Randall Lord was also the Libertarian candidate in both the 2012 and 2014 races for Representative of Louisiana's Fourth Congressional District. In both races, he lost to Republican John Fleming.
According to their guilty pleas, both Michael and Randall Lord were accepting currency, money orders and money paks and exchanging those funds for bitcoin from 2013 to 2015.
Bitcoin is a decentralized form of electronic or digital currency, existing entirely on the Internet and not in any physical form.
According to then-U.S. Attorney Stephanie Findley, the Lords were not registered with the U.S. Dept. of Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) or licensed to operate as a money service business with the state of Louisiana.
The Lords also failed to report receiving more than $31,000 in U.S. currency through the venture, according to Finley.
Prosecutors say Michael Lord was involved in a drug conspiracy to distribute alprazolam, 5F-AB-Pinaca (a synthetic cannabinoid) and other controlled substances beginning in March 2015.
"This investigation represents cutting edge criminal activity," Jerome R. McDuffie, Special Agent in Charge for the New Orleans Field Office of IRS – Criminal Investigation.
"The 'dark web' was used to facilitate monetary transactions in a drug distribution network. Cybercrime is an emerging area of criminal activity, and we want the criminals who hide behind logon names and internet aliases to know that IRS Special Agents will follow the money in whatever form, whether it be digital or paper currency. We will follow the trail right back to their doorstep and will work diligently to hold the responsible individuals accountable."
"HSI is committed to dismantling and disrupting the flow of illegal drugs and money into our country," said Special Agent in Charge of HSI New Orleans Raymond R. Parmer Jr. "HSI-Shreveport will continue working with our local, state and federal partners to ensure we are making every effort to keep drugs off our streets."
The IRS-Criminal Investigation, U.S. Immigrations and Customs EnforcementHomeland Security Investigations, FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Springhill Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cytheria D. Jernigan prosecuted the case.
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