- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 30, 2021

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - A judge has ruled that a leader of a libertarian group and self-described minister in New Hampshire will remain jailed on charges that he ran an unlicensed virtual currency exchange business, saying that he’s a flight risk and a danger to the community.

Ian Freeman, 40, of Keene, has pleaded not guilty to charges of participating in a conspiracy to operate the business; wire fraud; money laundering; operating a continuing financial crimes enterprise; and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.

In her ruling late Monday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrea Johnstone said Freeman “has substantial financial resources.” He told court officers he gets $23,000 a month in income, and has $60,000 in a checking account.

FBI agents seized $178,000 from a bedroom safe. Among other assets, they identified about 28 Bitcoin - equivalent to about $1.6 million - that Freeman can access. The government indicated “these funds are almost impossible to trace and can be accessed anywhere,” Johnstone wrote.

She also wrote that Freeman allegedly built and oversaw “a wide-ranging criminal enterprise that misled financial institutions, enabled fraud, and allowed those engaged in criminal activity to exchange their ill-gotten gains for virtual currency.”

Freeman offered to surrender his passport and wear a monitoring device so he could be released. Johnstone said those proposals don’t “reasonably assure” his appearance at future court proceedings.

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