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Ex-Vikings Investor Rejects Plea Deal in Cryptocurrency Case

Bloomberg logoBloomberg 1/31/2020 Bob Van Voris and Chris Dolmetsch

(Bloomberg) -- An Arizona businessman who once held a minority stake in the National Football League’s Minnesota Vikings rejected a plea deal after talks broke down with prosecutors, setting up an April trial.

Reginald Fowler is charged with running an unlicensed money-transmitting operation tied to virtual currency trading. He was set to plead guilty to a single felony, if he agreed to forfeit as much as $371 million in more than 50 accounts.

The deal unraveled when Fowler would only agree to forfeit whatever assets are in the accounts. Prosecutors told U.S. District Judge Andrew Carter Jr. in a letter Friday that Fowler had rejected their plea offer.

According to prosecutors, Fowler and Yosef lied to banks to open accounts and processed hundreds of millions of dollars through the U.S. financial system on behalf of cryptocurrency exchanges. The arrangement allowed them to avoid money-laundering safeguards that licensed institutions have to follow, prosecutors said. Yosef remains at large.

Fowler tried to buy the Vikings for $600 million in 2005, but had to settle for a minority stake when he couldn’t come up with the cash, according to the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. His involvement with the team ended in 2014.

The case is U.S. v. Fowler, 19-cr-254, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporters on this story: Bob Van Voris in federal court in Manhattan at rvanvoris@bloomberg.net;Chris Dolmetsch in Federal Court in Manhattan at cdolmetsch@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Glovin at dglovin@bloomberg.net, Joe Schneider

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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