United States authorities have arrested a Russian national under allegations of money laundering — using his Instagram that promoted his rap career as evidence against him.
Per court filings unsealed on March 30, an FBI investigator alleged that Maksim Boiko laundered money using cryptocurrencies, including via disgraced exchange BTC-e. The authorities also say that Boiko conspired with transnational organized crime organization QQAAZZ.
Seemingly a resident of Los Angeles, Boiko entered the U.S. on January 19 carrying $20,000 in cash. According to the FBI affidavit, Boiko told airport security that his money came from investments in Bitcoin and rental properties in Russia.
Skeptical of this explanation, authorities would go on to arrest Boiko in Miami on March 27.
What the filings do not mention is that Boiko is also a small-time rapper operating under the name Plinofficial — a name also used in an email address that the FBI identified as being connected with money laundering operations.
Boiko had allegedly used email address firstname.lastname@example.org to register an account on BTC-e under his real name. According to the FBI, “data from BTC-e showed that Boiko’s account had received $387,964 worth of deposits and had withdrawn approximately 136 Bitcoin.”
Boiko’s social media presence was apparently a factor in the investigation. The FBI investigator testifying against Boiko said pictures from his Instagram are:
“Inconsistent with the practices of a legitimate business operation and are consistent with the allegations set forth herein that Boiko has engaged in illegal money laundering activities with significant cybercriminals for the past several years.”