BROOKSVILLE – A Brooksville man is facing federal charges after officials say he operated an elaborate money laundering scheme to hide millions he earned illegally through digital currency transactions.
53-year-old Maximiliano Franco Pilipis was taken into custody on Thursday, on an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) hold, to face charges related to bank fraud and money laundering.
According to a complaint filed last November in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, a Judge ordered all funds deposited into Pilipis Morgan Stanley investment accounts and all other assets to be seized.
Investigators with the IRS claim Pilipis began operations in 2007 through a Dominican-based company, Aurum Capital Holdings, Inc. Over the course of 11 years, Pilipis made serial transactions or "Hops" by transferring Bitcoin to investment accounts from various shell companies. Pilipis would use the Silk Road Darknet Marketplace to conduct those transactions, in an effort to further conceal funds. Silk Road was shut down by the FBI in 2013 and its founder is serving two life sentences on similar charges.
In 2018, investigators caught on to Pilipis's illegal activity after he made several multimillion-dollar transactions through his Morgan Stanley Accounts. Pilipis purchased several properties in Indiana and a $1.35 million dollar home located at 14151 Buczak Road in Brooksville. Pilipis also purchased a private plane that is currently stored at the Tampa Bay-Brooksville Regional Airport.
Immediately after Pilipis was notified of the forfeiture, his wife Dr Lois Ann Pilipis filed for divorce in Hernando County Court. A temporary restraining order was also granted by Judge Don Barbee, but the details of her petition are unknown.
Nearly $10,000,000 in cash has been seized by the IRS and will remain in a secure account until the criminal charges are resolved.