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The National Science Institute, previously known as The Geek Group, took to YouTube to share details of the investigation into their company, by the FBI. Computers, Hard drives, and other tech were removed from the offices on December 21 due to accusations of cryptocurrency trading without the required authorization.
The United state’s Department of Homeland Security and three other federal agencies, including the IRS were executing a sealed search warrant at the headquarters.
The Geek Group was formed 25 years ago in 1994 as a not-for-profit educational organization based in Grand Rapids, Michigan; they had over 50,000 members globally. The Geek Group aimed to provide an opportunity for people looking to expand their education and create. They provided low-cost computers and access to vocational courses aimed at uplifting the public.
The National Science Institute closed on December 31 2018 following the incident. The president of The National Science Institute Chris Boden has stated he believes he could be facing time in federal prison, as well as $100,000 in legal fees. Boden said:
“I did a stupid thing, I made a bad decision, so I’m going to pay for it.”
It is not yet clear what charges Boden is actually facing, and the FBI have declined to comment on the issue. Boden has also stated that he will not be commenting further on the advice of his legal counsel.
If you are wondering why Boden was so quick to “shut up shop” after the raid, the prospects do not look too good. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), one of the government agencies who raided The National Science Institute has a 90% conviction rate, and they don’t tend to strike without substantial evidence to back up their claims. It is also likely that assets were seized and accounts were frozen, which affected Boden’s ability to keep the company running, leading to the decision to close operations.
In some cases, people involved in cryptocurrency aren’t exactly sure what the rules and regulations are, and what is expected of them with it being a relatively new form of currency. However, there is nothing to suggest this is the case here, and it is clear to see that the government agencies believe they have a strong case against The National Science Institute.
This isn’t the first time The National Science Institute has been accused of shady dealings. In 2010 the Kalamazoo County Treasurer seized the group’s headquarters after the group refused to pay property taxes worth over $100,000.