20. March 2023

Crypto ATM Firm Busted: US Secret Service Seizes Over 50 Kiosks

• The U.S. Secret Service’s Cyber Fraud and Money Laundering Task Force seized over 50 Bitcoin ATMs from S&P Solutions for benefitting scammers via their machines.
• The firm and its three executives are facing charges of conspiracy and money laundering.
• Scammers were allegedly directing victims, mainly the elderly or another vulnerable group, to go to Bitcoin of America ATMs and put cash into the machine to collect BTC in a wallet that the scammers secretly controlled.

Clamp Down on Crypto ATM Operator

Many crypto enthusiasts believe the growing trend of Bitcoin ATMs will drive more adoption, given the ease of access. But Bloomberg reported last year that the crypto winter affected Bitcoin ATMs. The U.S. Secret Service’s Cyber Fraud and Money Laundering Task Force seized over 50 kiosks in its investigation of S&P Solutions, a bitcoin technology firm, indicting them for operating unlicensed cryptocurrency kiosks in Ohio since 2018 without proper licenses from government agencies.

Charges Against Firms and Executives

The firm and its three executives, Sonny Meraban, Reza Maraban, and William Suriano are facing different charges including conspiracy and money laundering as they allegedly benefited from crypto scam victims by misrepresenting their business.

Scammer’s Leverage Non-Existent AML Protections

Law enforcement impersonators, romance scammers, robocallers leveraged the non-existent Anti-Money Laundering protections in the firms’ systems to take money from users; directing targets mainly elderly or other vulnerable groups to go to Bitcoin of America ATMs with cash to collect BTC in a wallet that was secretly controlled by scammers.

Impact on BTC Adoption

While the community complains about the impact of these drops on BTC adoption, recent events show how regulators can clamp down on operators who misuse their services for illicit activities.

Victims Lost Large Sums Of Money To Scams

In one instance, a victim lost $11,250 to the scammers in one hour after making three transactions at S&P Solutions’ machines; which shows why it is important for consumers to be aware when using such services for financial operations or investments.