In New York City, a bitcoin ATM operator was charged with operating an illegal business “targeting individuals engaged in criminal activity.” The District Attorney in charge said: “Robert Taylor allegedly went to great lengths to keep his bitcoin kiosk business as secretive as possible in order to attract a clientele willing to pay for anonymity.”
Operator of 46 bitcoin ATMs indicted
On Wednesday, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg Jr. announced that Robert Taylor was indicted “for operating an illegal bitcoin ATM business that he sold to individuals engaged in criminal activity.”
The announcement reads:
Taylor operated bitcoin kiosks in at least 46 locations in New York City, mostly laundromats, but also in New Jersey and Miami.
Between 2017 and 2018, the 35-year-old “transferred more than $5.6 million of his customers’ cash into bitcoin, while charging fees ranging from 10% to 20%,” the district attorney’s office reported.
Taylor is charged with “multiple counts of operating an unlicensed money transfer business, third-degree criminal tax fraud, and offering a fraudulent document for filing in the first degree.”
Bragg described, “Robert Taylor allegedly went to great lengths to keep his bitcoin kiosk business secret in order to attract a clientele willing to pay for anonymity,” specifying
As cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin proliferate, they continue to attract a wide range of abusers who hope to evade law enforcement.
The ad further notes:
A total of $250,000 in cash was seized from Taylor’s apartment as well as 20 bitcoin ATMs containing $44,000 in cash as a result of search warrants.
A forensic examination revealed that between September 2017 and November 2018, over $5.6 million in cash was deposited into Taylor’s bitcoin ATMs. More than $590,000 in fees were collected and about $160,000 was transferred to Taylor’s personal bank accounts.
However, Taylor reported income of about $3,000 on his 2017 tax return and a loss of $140,000 on his 2018 tax return.
In addition, his business did not hold a money transmission license or a virtual currency business license (Bitlicense) from the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS). He also did not hold a license from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
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