William Suriano

A 69-year-old Riverside man was one of three people indicted in Ohio last week for their alleged involvement in a cryptocurrency fraud conspiracy carried out between August 2022 and February 2023.

Agents from the U.S. Secret Service arrested William Suriano at his Riverside home on March 1, according to Riverside Public Safety Director Matthew Buckley, who said local police were present during the arrest and transported Suriano to DuPage County Jail, where he remains in custody without bond pending a March 16 hearing date.

Suriano’s arrest, along with those of Reza Mehraban, 75, of Naperville, and Sonny Meraban, 45, of Miami, was announced March 2 by Michael O’Malley, the prosecutor for Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

A Cuyahoga County grand jury indicted the three men, along with the company S and P Solutions, doing business as Bitcoin of America, following an investigation involving more than two dozen local, state and federal agencies, including the U. S. Department of the Treasury, the FBI, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Federal Trade Commission, the Ohio Department of Taxation and the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office.

“I would like to personally thank the United States Secret Service for their incredible hard work throughout the investigation of this case,” said O’Malley in a press release. “I would also like to thank the additional 28 agencies that worked alongside our office and the Secret Service. Without the assistance from each and every one of these law enforcement agencies, these individuals would be continuing to profit off of their illegal activities.”

Suriano is charged with one count each of conspiracy, money laundering, taxation and possession of criminal tools, five counts of tampering with records, eight counts each of money laundering and receiving stolen property and 33 counts of violating license requirements.

According to the 58-count indictment unsealed on March 1, the three men through the company they managed, Bitcoin of America, operated cryptocurrency kiosks across northeast Ohio without a money transmission license and by falsely representing their money transferring capabilities to Ohio regulators to avoid detection.

The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Secret Service Cyber Fraud and Money Laundering Task Force, which also seized a total of 52 ATMs in Cuyahoga and Lorain counties in Ohio connected to the scheme.

“The United States Secret Service has an integrated mission of protection and investigations that safeguard our nation’s financial infrastructure,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Cleveland Field Office Blaine Forschen in a press release. “This effort is another example of how we achieve our mission through partnerships with local, state and regional allies such as the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.”

The indictment states that the defendants illegally facilitated the conversion of U.S. currency into Bitcoin and transmitted that cryptocurrency into any designated cryptocurrency wallet.

For each transaction, the indictment alleges, the defendants collected and retained a transmission fee, averaging about 20% of the total amount transferred and continued to do so after being notified that fee came from fraudulent transfers.

The defendants deposited fees derived from the illegal transfers into bank accounts in 32 states, the indictment states, in none of which they were licensed to operate as a money transmitter.

Defendants are set for arraignment on March 22 in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas.