An online cryptocurrency influencer popularly known as “Bitcoin Rodney” on Tuesday challenged being held in jail pending trial and asked a judge to release him in high intensity supervision.

According to the pretrial services report, Rodney Burton’s aunt, who resides in Maryland, is willing to serve as his custodian if the court releases Burton.

Burton was arrested at the Miami International Airport in January and charged with one count of conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business and one count of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.

A detention review hearing is set for July 8 in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. No trial date has been set.

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Magistrate Judge Erin Aslan in U.S. District Court in Baltimore ordered Burton detained pending trail, citing strong evidence, including witnesses, transaction records and recorded calls, along with Burton receiving $40,000 a month in income and having yachts, cars and other assets. The judge also noted that Burton was arrested with a one-way ticket to United Arab Emirates, according to court documents.

Burton said he does not own a yacht anymore as of May 2024, which the government cited as a significant asset and a way to “escape” to Dubai despite no longer having a passport.

According to Burton, the government selected “self-serving” excerpts that were taken out of context from the approximately 35-minute recorded phone call that was used as evidence to determine a “serious risk” he would not appear for trial and had consciousness of guilt.

In a December call with Brenda Chunga, also known as “Bitcoin Beautee,” Burton said he discussed a new business opportunity regarding artificial intelligence, not cryptocurrency or “passive income,” and his intention of moving to Dubai in January to run his new endeavor.

The government alleged that Burton booked a one-way ticket to the United Arab Emirates to evade prosecution. Burton said that in the recording it is clear that he did not know whether he was being investigated for this case or that he was going to be arrested.

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Burton argued his travel to Dubai was “required” since he has “legitimate business opportunities” there and never alluded to going there to avoid prosecution in the recorded call.

In a detention memo, the government alleged that Burton is a part of a “Ponzi Scheme,” but unlike Chunga who pleaded guilty to security and wire fraud, Burton is not indicted on securities fraud or wire fraud offenses.

Burton also defended his character in favor of his release.

He said he has a nonviolent prior criminal background, which occurred over 17 years ago, and he did not miss a court date in any of those cases.

Burton successfully completed substance abuse treatment in 2012. He noted an instance where he corrected a statement saying he last used cocaine “ten years ago” by reporting his more recent use to Maryland pretrial services.

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Additionally, Burton said the offenses he is charged with do not favor detention because they are nonviolent in nature.

The criminal case involves Burton, 54; Chunga, 43, an associate; and Sam Lee, 35, an international fugitive; who are accused of orchestrating a $1.89 billion cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme where they falsely told investors they would receive substantial returns from operations that did not exist.