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Miami Beach Police Make What Could be First Ever Bitcoin Vendor Arrests

Written by:
Aaron Goldstein
Published on:
Feb/07/2014
Miami Beach Police Make What Could be First Ever Bitcoin Vendor Arrests

Police in Miami Beach in conjunction with the U.S. Secret Service’s Miami Electronic Crimes Task have arrested two men moving a large amounts of cash in and out of the Bitcoin virtual currency.  Experts believe this could be the first case that bitcoin vendors have been charged with a crime.

Bitcoin is an anonymous digit currency that in recent months has gained a degree of acceptance among mainstream retailers and online betting sites. 

Arrested were Michell Abner Espinoza, 30, and Pascal Reid, a 29-year-old Canadian citizen.  Both engaged in facilitating high-dollar transactions via localbitcoins.com.

From Krebson Security:

Documents obtained from the Florida state court system show that investigators believe Reid had 403 Bitcoins in his on-phone Bitcoin wallet alone — which at the time was the equivalent of approximately USD $316,000. Those same documents show that the undercover agent told Reid he wanted to use the Bitcoins to buy credit cards stolen in the Target breach.

Nicholas Weaver, a researcher at the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI) and at the University of California, Berkeley and keen follower of Bitcoin-related news, said he is unaware of another case in which state law has been used against a Bitcoin vendor. According to Weaver, the Florida case is significant because localbitcoins.com is among the last remaining places that Americans can use to purchase Bitcoins anonymously.

- Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com

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