Legal Battle Unfolds Between Crypto Kiosk Manager and Sheriff’s Office Following Elaborate Crypto ATM Scam

Picture Source: BeInCrypto

A legal dispute has emerged between a crypto kiosk manager and the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office, stemming from an intricate scam involving a cryptocurrency ATM. The incident began when an elderly woman fell victim to a fraudulent scheme, leading to the loss of $15,000. While the local police initially intervened to assist the victim, the seizure of the cash from the ATM prompted a lawsuit from the operators.

The Elaborate Scam:

According to local news source KWTX, Bitcoin Depot, operating under Lux Vending, has filed a lawsuit alleging that the sheriff’s office unlawfully seized the cash without adhering to proper due process. The ATM operator contends that the funds were returned to the victim without following appropriate legal procedures.

The scam involved an email containing a malicious link disguised as a recipe, which activated ransomware on the victim’s device. Seeking assistance, the elderly woman reached out to what she believed was customer support. However, she was connected to a fraud investigator who claimed her personal information had been compromised.

The fraudulent investigator instructed her not to involve law enforcement or her bank and convinced her that a check had been issued in her name for $15,000. To resolve the issue, the victim was instructed to withdraw cash from her bank and deposit it into a Bitcoin ATM located at a specific store. Fearing the check would clear imminently, the victim followed the instructions, depositing the money incrementally while remaining on the phone with the scammer.

Clashing Perspectives:

Representing Lux Vending, Houston attorney John MacVane labeled the actions taken by the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office as unlawful and violative of Bitcoin Depot’s rights under both the Texas and US Constitutions. MacVane expressed sympathy for the victim while emphasizing the importance of adhering to due process and seeking the return of their property.

In response, McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara dismissed the accusations as baseless, describing them as “a bunch of hogwash.” Sheriff McNamara condemned the lawsuit, arguing that the seized funds rightfully belong to the victim, who had already suffered as a result of the scam.

Rising Debate and Educational Initiatives:

Crypto ATMs, not just in Texas but worldwide, have become a topic of increasing debate. Their legal status and future remain uncertain in many jurisdictions. Countries like the United Kingdom have implemented effective bans on these machines, while the United States has witnessed a significant surge in their numbers.

With the number of Bitcoin ATMs skyrocketing by 652% in a little over three years, totaling 4,212 machines in January 2020, their unfamiliarity to elderly individuals creates an avenue for scams. In response, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently launched the “Never Stop Learning” campaign, aiming to educate older adults about financial risks, including crypto scams.


The legal dispute between the crypto kiosk manager and the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office underscores the challenges posed by scams targeting vulnerable individuals through cryptocurrency ATMs. As the case unfolds in court, it highlights the need for increased awareness, education, and regulatory clarity surrounding the use of these machines.