LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Henderson man has pleaded guilty to charges related to money laundering and tax fraud in connection with a $722 million cryptocurrency scheme.
Gordon Brad Beckstead, 57, pleaded guilty by videoconference in a Newark, N.J., court hearing on Thursday, according to a news release from the Las Vegas Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service. Beckstead faces a possible 23 years in prison and $600,000 in fines — the maximum combined penalties for the money laundering conspiracy charge and the charge of aiding in the preparation of a false tax return.
The pleas came as federal officials continued the prosecution of the BitClub Network, a fraudulent scheme that solicited money from investors from April 2014 through December 19. The investments purchased shares of “purported cryptocurrency mining pools,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Matthew Brent Goettsche, the creator of BitClub Network, was indicted along with four other men in December 2019.
As one of BitClub’s investors, Beckstead helped conceal Goettsche’s income, controlling accounts exceeding $50 million, federal authorities said. He also helped hike Goettsche’s assets. Beckstead, a former CPA, assisted Goettsche in evading taxes in 2017 and 2018.
Beckstead also admitted that he and others lied to financial institutions to conceal the source of Goettsche’s income.
Goettsche failed to report more than $60 million in total income earned through his operation of the BitClub Network, avoiding more than $20 million in federal income taxes.
Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 9.
Anyone who believes they may be a victim of the BitClub Network should visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-nj/bitclub. Victims can find more information about the case, including a questionnaire for victims to fill out and submit.