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LocalBitcoins Trader 'Bitcoin Maven' Sentenced to Year in Prison

A Los Angeles bitcoin trader was sentenced Monday to one year in federal prison after she admitted to operating an unlawful money transmission business.

Theresa Tetley, a former stockbroker and real estate investor based in California, was also fined $20,000 and will give up 40 bitcoins (an amount worth roughly $254,000), nearly $300,000 in cash and 25 assorted gold bars, according to a notice from the U.S. Department of Justice.

As CoinDesk previously reported, Tetley worked as a trader on the LocalBitcoins exchange platform under the name “Bitcoin Maven” between 2014 and 2017 and reportedly exchanged millions of dollars worth of crypto during that period.

The year-long sentence – plus one day – is less than the 30 months Tetley potentially faced as the sentencing process moved forward. It represents a win for Tetley, whose lawyers sought a one-year prison term.

Brian Klein, one of Tetley’s attorneys, called the result “a victory,” according to LA Times, as it is much shorter than the previous 30-month jail time.

“We are pleased the judge made such a dramatic departure,” Klein told the publication.

Tetley’s case is considered to be the first of its kind within California’s Central District, but other lawsuits in the past couple of years have taken aim at U.S.-based traders who used the LocalBitcoins platform.

In one case from 2017, a bitcoin trader and his father were charged with running an unlawful money services business, resulting in a nine-year sentence for Michael Lord.

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