Arrested Samourai Wallet co-founder to be released on bail, will contest charges

William Lonergan Hill, also known as TDev, has been granted bail by the U.S. government, according to a recent court filing. Hill, one of the co-founders of Samourai Wallet, which featured a mixing option to anonymize Bitcoin transactions, was arrested in April on federal charges related to money laundering. His first court appearance is scheduled for this upcoming week, and Hill plans to contest the charges.

Hill and his fellow Samourai Wallet co-founder, Keonne Rodriguez, were arrested on charges of money laundering and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business. The U.S. government has agreed to bail for Hill, though the specific terms are still under discussion. Hill’s defense argues he should be allowed to remain in Portugal with his wife, while Department of Justice prosecutors prefer he stay in his sister’s basement in Brooklyn, as noted in a filing first reported by The Rage.

Rodriguez has already pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on a $1 million bond. Hill’s bail package includes at least $3 million in assets, which would increase to about $4.4 million if he is allowed to stay in Portugal. This package is supported by pledges from his wife and family members, who have staked their financial futures on his compliance with the bond terms.

Hill Plans to Contest Charges

Like his co-founder, Hill plans to contest the charges. Hill’s lawyer notes that due to the expected volume of discovery and many pre-trial actions, the actual trial might not take place until “deep into 2025.”

In the defense’s letter, several arguments are presented in support of Hill, including legal analysis and notes from prominent individuals. One argument points out that Samourai Wallet was available on Google’s App Store from its launch in May 2015 until April 2024, when Google delisted the app following the arrests. The defense argues that if Samourai Wallet was intended as a money-laundering service, Google would logically be an unindicted co-conspirator for offering the app to nearly 4 billion Android users.

The defense also contends that the charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering depends on the assertion that Samourai Wallet was an unlicensed money-transmitting business, contrary to FinCEN’s guidance at the time. “If Samourai Wallet was not a money-transmitting business, it had no obligations to prevent money laundering under the [Bank Secrecy Act],” the letter states.

Included in the filing is a letter from Senators Cynthia Lummis and Ron Wyden, who wrote to Attorney General Merrick Garland, arguing that subjecting developers of non-custodial crypto asset software to potential criminal liability as unregistered money transmitters contradicts established interpretations of FinCEN’s guidance and could stifle innovation and undermine confidence in the DOJ’s respect for the rule of law.

Hill is scheduled to make his first appearance at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on July 9 or 10, according to the letter.