Reginald Fowler, the former minority owner of NFL team Minnesota Vikings, has been sentenced to 75 months for processing more than $700 million of unregulated transactions on behalf of cryptocurrency exchanges.
Fowler violated federal anti-money laws and operated as a “crypto shadow bank,” said Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, in a June 5 statement.
The 64-year-old was arrested in 2019 for allegedly offering shadow banking services, which is the process of carrying out bank-like activities via non-bank entities, to crypto companies. In 2020, Fowler pleaded not guilty then changed his plea to guilty in April of last year.
Fowler established Global Trading Solutions (GTS) in 2018 and began working with crypto companies, including payments processor Crypto Capital, to give them access to legitimate U.S. banks by providing shadow banking services over the course of 10 months, the prosecution claimed. Fowler opened dozens of accounts in the U.S. and abroad processing around $750 million in cryptocurrency transactions in various currencies, Williams said.
Fowler’s operations with Crypto Capital have previously been linked to iFinex, which is the parent company of crypto exchange Bitfinex and stablecoin Tether.
The ex-NFL team owner is also accused of defrauding the Alliance of American Football (AAF) by lying about his net worth via GTS to secure a significant ownership stake in the league. The AAF aimed to be an alternative to the NFL but was shut down in April 2019 after only eight weeks of play.
“Let it be clear: This office is committed to prosecuting people who lie to banks and skirt the law as a means to conduct their business,” Williams said.
Fowler has been ordered to forfeit $740 million and pay $53 million in restitution to the AAF.