Liz Holliday

Communications Specialist

BitCoin ATM Makes New York Debut

ALBANY, N.Y. — The owner of New York’s first Bitcoin ATM says he hopes it will give the online currency a little more credibility.

Created in 2009 by an anonymous source, Bitcoin is a digital currency that can be bought and sold in online marketplaces. They can be sent from person to person with the help of mobile apps of computers.

Bitcoins are stored in a digital wallet of sorts, which exists in the cloud or a user’s computer, but unlike bank accounts, they are not insured by the FDIC.

The currency is attractive to many users since it grants anonymity – the names of buyers and sellers are not revealed.

Paul Paterakis owns CT@HB on Albany’s Clinton Square. Not only was his business the first in upstate New York to accept Bitcoin, but it’s now home to the first Bitcoin ATM in the entire state.

He says the machine has already processed about 40 transactions in the short amount of time since it was unveiled.

“At first I was skeptical, I hadn’t heard too much about Bitcoin or using it as a form of payment from a customer so, I did a little research that night and the following day I started taking it,” he said.

It was a decision Paterakis calls a blessing.

“We have about ten transactions daily with Bitcoin, which is actually pretty high for a currency that just started a few years back.”

Now customers can put more bitcoin currency in their wallet thanks to 21-year old Emilio Pagan-Yourno, who started his Bitcoin ATM business, PYC, at the start of the year.

“It gives a sense of presence that it’s real, that it’s not a shady black market currency,” said Pagan-Yourno.

But the Schenectady native says business so far is going better than expected, and is hoping Albany’s ATM can serve as a test bed to jump off from.

“I want to put these ATMs all around the United States,” he added.

Although some may be skeptical of the new currency, Paterakis says he only anticipates big things for this paperless money.

“It’s like sending out an email, but you’re doing it with money now,” he said.

Child support cases on the rise; fewer people paying them

This story originally aired on August 6, 2012 on KOAM News

Oklahoma child support cases are on the rise in Ottawa County while actual child support payments are down.

The month of August marks a federal awareness month for child support and the Ottawa Child Support Center will hold events all month long to educate the public on the issue.

“My first ex has $10,000 in back child support and my other ex is coming up on $5,000 and it would be a lot more helpful if I could actually receive any of that,” says Brandy Schmitt.

Schmitt is a single mother of four working a part-time job to pay her bills, something that makes it more difficult when the fathers of her children refuse to pay their child support on time.

“I love my kids, I don’t even have any words for it and then for them not to even want to help financially, it’s ridiculous,” says Schmitt.

Schmitt is taking the men to court this week to get her money and justice.

“Have some consequence – I mean they’ve been going so long without paying their child support and helping me with their kids – something should happen,” Schmitt says. “I’m hoping that they have to pay.”

Schmitt isn’t alone. Around 140 cases involving back child support are scheduled at the Ottawa County courthouse this week.

Authorities say they are currently around 2,500 open cases in Ottawa County, and the Ottawa Child Support Center says the recent Blitz plant closure and Tracker factory layoffs in Miami will only worsen the problem.

“Looking over the last three years we’ve had a steady decrease in collections, I think based mainly on the economy, the fact that we’ve lost several jobs in the area that were the better paying jobs,” says Jammie Sartie of the Ottawa County Child Support Center.

Not not everyone is fighting the Child Support Enforcement Agency to pay their child support. Rhett Green is a mechanic and father of one, who says he’s happy to pay his child support and thinks others should as well.

“I just think it’s something you’re supposed to do,” Green says. “If you have a kid you’re supposed to take care of them. Take care of your kids people.”