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Busted for Running Illegal Bitcoin ATMs in Laundromats

Quick take:

  • New Yorker Robert Taylor was arrested for running 46 illegal bitcoin kiosks in laundromats.
  • His illegal network completed more than $5.6 million worth of transactions.

Robert Taylor was charged for allegedly running over 46 bitcoin ATMs illegally. The Manhattan D.A. Alvin L.Bragg indicted Robert Taylor, stating he’s been assisting customers in laundering money.

A hub of illegal bitcoin ATMs

Rober had completed over $5.6 million worth of transactions in a year. He was charging anywhere from 10 to 20 percent on every transaction as fees. In the New York State Supreme Court indictment, Taylor is accused of…

  • Numerous charges of Operating an Unlicensed Money Transmission Business
  • Third Degree Criminal Tax Fraud
  • Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree 

District Attorney Bragg said that “Robert Taylor allegedly went to great lengths to keep his Bitcoin kiosk business as secret as possible to attract a clientele that would pay top dollar for anonymity.”

The prosecutors said that his high fees were justified for the anonymity and no questions asked.

The illegal business run by Taylor was not registered by the New York Department of financial services, and the customers also were not required to show their IDs.

The prosecutors said that the only identifiable information about Taylor’s kiosk was a Snapchat icon connected to a burner phone and an encrypted proton email account.

Around $250,000 in cash and $44,000 from 20 of the bitcoin ATMs were seized. Between September 2017 and November 2018, more than $5.6 million in cash was placed at Taylor's kiosks, producing more than $590,000 in fees, according to forensic analysis. Taylor then allegedly tried to mislead the IRS by declaring only $3,000 in income in 2017 and reported an overall loss of $140,000 in 2018.

According to surveillance footage and data discovered during the inquiry, at least one of Taylor's customers came to an ATM driving a stolen U-Haul truck. Prosecutors claimed several of the others had previous criminal convictions relating to narcotics sales or credit card theft.

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