On February 15, 2018, federal prosecutors charged Joseph Kim with wire fraud. The 24-year-old employee of Chicago-based Consolidated Trading LLC is accused of stealing $2.06 million of bitcoin and Litecoin from the firm. If convicted, Kim faces up to 20 years in prison.
An announcement by the Department of Justice explains, "Over a two-month period in the fall of last year, Kim misappropriated at least $2 million of the firm's Bitcoin and Litecoin cryptocurrency for his own personal benefit, and he made false statements and representations to the company's management in order to conceal the theft, according to the complaint."
Apparently, Kim transferred cryptocurrency holdings belonging to his firm to his own accounts in order to cover personal trading losses accrued on foreign exchanges. At a glance, it appears likely that Kim, who previously worked as a cryptocurrency trader in South Korea, may have tried to profit off the virtual currency premium common to the South Korean markets.
In a written statement, an agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation quoted correspondence between Kim and the Consolidated Trading management team.
"Until the end I was perversely trying to fix what I had already done," Kim wrote to colleagues in an email dated November 29, 2017. "I can't believe I did not stop myself when I had the money to give back, and I will live with that for the rest of my life. You have every apology I have to give, I am sorry to betray you all like this."
Kim said that he had no intent to steal, but the University of Chicago graduate is looking at some serious prison time if found guilty.