Former NFL co-owner and Minnesota Vikings figure Reginald Fowler has received a six-year prison sentence for his involvement in running a “shadow bank” operation within the cryptocurrency industry. Fowler was found guilty of facilitating over $700 million worth of unregulated transactions during a 10-month period in 2018.
The sentencing comes after a five-year legal case that began with Fowler’s arrest in 2019 for his alleged participation in shadow banking activities. Shadow banking refers to non-bank entities engaging in bank-like activities, often considered illegal.
Fowler initially pleaded not guilty to all charges but changed his plea to guilty in April 2022. The US Attorney’s Office in New York announced his sentencing of 75 months on charges of bank fraud and money laundering.
According to the statement from US Attorney Damian Williams, Fowler used a series of lies to deceive multiple banks, bypassing federal regulations and processing unregulated transactions as a shadow bank for cryptocurrency exchanges. This posed significant risks to the US financial system.
Williams also highlighted Fowler’s fraudulent actions that affected the Alliance of American Football (AAF), a former professional football league. Fowler misrepresented his net worth to gain a significant stake in the league.
Fowler established Global Trading Solutions (GTS) to collaborate with Crypto Capital and other cryptocurrency firms based in Israel. They opened bank accounts without disclosing their relationship, enabling them to process cryptocurrency transactions without the necessary licenses.
Among the implicated crypto firms were iFinex Inc, the parent company of Bitfinex, and Tether, a widely used stablecoin.
Fowler’s convictions include bank fraud conspiracy, operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business, conspiracy to run an unlicensed money-transmitting business, and wire fraud.
In addition to the prison sentence, Fowler has been ordered to forfeit $740 million and pay over $53 million in restitution to the AAF.
US Attorney Damian Williams emphasized his commitment to prosecuting individuals who engage in deceptive practices and evade the law for their personal gain. The case serves as a reminder of the authorities’ dedication to maintaining integrity and safeguarding the financial system.