New witness delays trial over bitcoin exchange tied to JPMorgan hack

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By Nate Raymond | NEW YORK

NEW YORK The trial of two men was delayed on
Monday in a case stemming from a probe into a bitcoin exchange
and a data breach at JPMorgan Chase & Co after
prosecutors revealed a new witness.

Jury selection was set to begin in Manhattan federal court
in the case of Yuri Lebedev, whom authorities call the architect
of bitcoin exchange Coin.mx’s platform, and Trevon Gross, a
pastor and ex-chairman of a now-defunct credit union.

But U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan delayed jury selection
until Tuesday after prosecutors said they had secured a new
witness.

The witness, Philip Burgess, was represented by the law firm
of one of Gross’ lawyers in an unrelated tax case in which he
was sentenced in 2010 to eight months in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Noble said Burgess, while “reporting another potential fraud” to prosecutors on Wednesday,
revealed he had incriminating information stemming from his time
as a potential investor in the credit union Gross headed.

But after spending the day discussing how to resolve the
conflict of Gross and Burgess sharing the same law firm, Nathan
ruled prosecutors could not call their eve-of-trial new witness.

“It is my conclusion that we will proceed tomorrow and the
government may not call Mr. Burgess,” she said.

Gross, 52, and Lebedev, 39, are among nine people who have
been charged following an investigation connected to a breach
JPMorgan disclosed in 2014 that exposed over 83 million
accounts.

While Gross and Lebedev were not accused of hacking, they
came under scrutiny in connection with Coin.mx, which
authorities said was operated by Florida resident Anthony Murgio
and owned by an Israeli behind the JPMorgan breach, Gery Shalon.

Shalon has pleaded not guilty to charges that he
orchestrated cyber attacks that resulted in the theft of over
100 million people’s information.

Prosecutors said Coin.mx operated through a front called “Collectables Club” to trick financial institutions into
believing it was a memorabilia club while it converted, with no
license, millions of dollars into bitcoin.

To further evade scrutiny, in 2014, Murgio, with Lebedev’s
help, tried to take over Helping Other People Excel Federal
Credit Union of Jackson, New Jersey, which was linked to HOPE
Cathedral.

To do so, they and others paid $150,000 in bribes via the
church to Gross, its pastor, in exchange for facilitating
Murgio’s takeover and arranging for Lebedev and others to be put
on the credit union’s board, prosecutors said.

Federal regulators took the credit union into
conservatorship in 2015. Murgio pleaded guilty in
January.



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