Where Is TDev: Extradition Uncontested, US Agrees To Release On Bail

According to a letter dated July 3rd, the US Government and William Lonergan Hill, known as TDev, have agreed to a release on bail. Hill is set to appear before court in three days.

Where Is TDev: Extradition Uncontested, US Agrees To Release On Bail

A letter filed on July 3rd in the case against Samourai Wallet founders Keonne Rordiguez and William Lonergan Hill reveals that the US Government has agreed to the release on bail of Hill, also known as TDev.

According to the letter, Hill is scheduled to make his initial appearance on July 9th or 10th 2024 in the Southern District of New York "following his uncontested extradition from Portugal".

The letter states that "the parties have agreed that Mr. Hill should be released on bail". Hill's defense requests that Hill be released to his home in Lisbon, Portugal pending trial, which is opposed by the US Government, not "to his sister’s basement in Brooklyn", which the US Government supports.

Hill's defense argues that the prosecution has already generated "considerable controversy", referring to an open letter written by Senator Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming and Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon in May criticizing the prosecution's "unprecedented and unlawful change in interpretation of the law".

Hill's defense states that FinCEN guidance "has long made clear that peer-to-peer apps like Samourai Wallet [...] do not qualify as money transmitting services". It highlights that "the fact that Mr. Hill [...] offered it openly for nine years evidences that they, like the Senators, also thought it was legal".

Hill's defense further states that Hill poses no flight risk, as "the extraordinarily robust bail package negotiated with the government would render his loved ones homeless were he not to appear for trial". Hill's defense highlights that "Mr. Hill is not facing an assured life behind bars", due to the "novelty and aggressiveness of the charges".

Hill's bail is currently packaged as a $2 Million bond provided by his family, including $200.000 posted in cash and a family home in New York. Were the US Government to agree to the release on bail to Hill's home in Portugal, Hill's defense offers to increase the bail package to a total of $3 Million by including additional family real estate in Europe.

Interestingly, Hill's defense argues that even Google appeared to think the operation of Samourai Wallet to be legal. The letter states that "Google first offered Samourai Wallet, an Android-only app, to Android mobile device users in its app store in May 2015. It remained available through April 2024, when Google removed it following Mr. Hill and his co-defendant’s arrest. Throughout those nine years, Samourai Wallet operated openly and notoriously, and Google made it available to the world’s approximately 3.9 billion Android users".

Google is known for its robust app review process, which requires app developers to comply with local laws, regulations and industry standards. The letter states that, according to the US Government's argumentation, Google would be an unindicted co-conspirator "by publicly offering and profiting from the sale of an app the government now claims was unambiguously “intended to assist individuals engaged in criminal conduct to conceal the source of the proceeds of their criminal activities"".

Hill's defense describes the US Government's prosecution as "aggressive as it is expansive, akin to charging Apple for cybercrimes commited with MacBooks. And like such a charge, it impermissibly uses criminal law to affect policy change. He is facing charges he can, should, and will contest at trial."

Putting the charges in context, the defense states that "to stop Bitcoin wallet providers from providing privacy and security services, or to force them to police their customers as banks must, the government has not sought to change the law, or even FinCEN’s guidance on it. It has prosecuted individuals operating a service they had every reason to believe was legal, and stretched to decorate the charges with decontextualized quotes that attempt to sketch out their agreement to criminal transactions the government does not allege they knew about in advance or explicitly agreed to".

X (formerly Twitter) users had been trying to gather information on Hill's proceedings under the hashtag #WhereIsTDevD following a lack of public documentation from the Portugese Policia Judiciaria, which offered no information on the status of Hill's case beyond a tweet announcing Hill's arrest.

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