The CEO of BASH Bitcoin ATMs has been indicted for laundering money through Localbitcoins.com.
The indictment against Brannen Mehaffey, the CEO of BASH Bitcoin ATMs was unsealed by the United States Department of Justice. Mehaffey is being accused of seven counts of money laundering including one count of structuring financial transactions.
In the indictment information is available about the victim of a fraud scheme linked to Mehaffey. The victim lost $125,000 between December 2018 and February 2019. The funds in the scheme was traced to an account controlled by Mehaffey’s company. Another victim of fraud transferred $7,370 to an account controlled by Mehaffey. At this moment it is unclear how these transactions are related to the money laundering and structuring charges.
According to the indictment, Mehaffey specialized in the exchanging of crypto currency for cash. He was controlling a Bitcoin ATM company called BASH which had ATMs in at least 20 locations accross Texas. The BASh atm website is now inaccessible. According to the indictment he had ATMs at computer repair companies, a strip club and smoke shops.
BASH advertised it’s Bitcoin ATMs as strong and durable. Saying:
We hold ourselves to a higher standard. Our ATMs are made American tough by a 100% American owned company. We have deployed over 20+ ATMs and throughout Texas and now we’re currently looking to expand nationally.
We noticed it was too easy to compromise or destroy every other Bitcoin ATM on the market. So, we knew we had to set the bar higher. The goal was to build a chassis that could withstand sledgehammer and crowbar abuse for at least 30 minutes without any being compromised.
The BEAST model looks mean because it is mean. With 6 hardened circular safety locks, 4x thicker metal used for the chassis (as compared to the competition), electronics mounted to vibration dampening materials, and metal straps for strength and resistance to multiple physical attacks. We have built the baddest, toughest, meanest bitcoin ATM on the planet.
As the popularity of Bitcoin ATMs grows, so does the number of thieves looking for a quick score. The majority of competitors’ hardware can be compromised and cracked open with 2 carefully placed swings of a sledgehammer purchased at any hardware store or Walmart. The hardware looks frail — and that ultimately acts as an invitation to thieves.
However, when thieves look at the BEAST, they are looking at the biggest, meanest, toughest ATM on the market. The message is clear: DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME!
Many of the stores that host our equipment chose BASH ATMs to make a passive stream of income without having the risk of a frail Bitcoin ATM. They want to keep their property and employees safe and their investment secured.
Mehaffey is also accused of offering Bitcoin for cash services on Craigslist and LocalBitcoins.com. According to the indictment, Mehaffeys encouraged his users to be secretive, saying; “What you do with bitcoin is your business and not mine. Please do not speak how you use it.”
In his effort at Money laundering, Mehaffey is accused of transferring more than $4,000,000 through bank accounts in his control.
The seven counts of the indictment are exactly the same except for the date and value of the transaction. The first count reads:
On or about March 12, 2020, in the District of Arizona and elsewhere, Mehaffey, with the intent to conceal and disguise the nature, location, source, ownership, and control of property believed to be the proceeds of specified unlawful activity, and with the intent to avoid a transaction reporting requirement under federal law, did knowingly conduct and attempt to conduct a financial transaction affecting interstate or foreign commerce in any way or degree.
In that he transmitted bitcoin in exchange for property represented by a law enforcement officer to be proceeds of specified unlawful activity, to wit: $8,000 in U.S. currency, plus an additional $13,000 in U.S. currency which was deposited pursuant to his directions by different individuals (at multiple Arizona 28 branches) of BBV A Compass Bank.
What this shows is that, undercover agents contacted Mehaffey about conducting a transaction with him.
The agents told Mehaffey that the source of the money being exchanged came from illegal activity. Despite having this information Mehaffey exchanged it for Bitcoin.
This goes on across the seven indictments , which are just federal agents exchanging money.
Money Laundering and Structuring
In addition to money laundering, he is also accused of structuring the cash in financial transactions in Arizona and:
- did knowingly cause and attempt to cause each domestic financial institution to fail to file a Currency Transaction Report
- all while violating another law of the United States
- and as part of a pattern of illegal activity involving more than $100,000 in 12 months.
Money Laundering structuring It is possible that he laundered money for the dark web .