21 Nov 2013

$45 Million Global ATM Scam Leads to US Arrests

Five people have been arrested and charged with conspiracy in connection with $45 million in ATM fraud that targeted two Middle Eastern banks, the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of New York said in a press release.

In 2012, six hackers penetrated a credit card processor’s computer network to compromise prepaid debit card accounts of the National Bank of Ras Al-Khaimah PSC (RAKBANK) and coordinated an ATM withdrawal campaign. More than 4,500 ATM transactions in some 20 countries around the world inflicted approximately $5 million in losses. 

During the latest intervention, from February 2013, the hackers allegedly compromised the accounts of Bank Muscat, Oman. In about 10 hours, $40 million was withdrawn from ATMs in 24 countries.

Photographic evidence shows cybercriminals were planning to send $800,000 back to the organizers of the attacks.

“As alleged, just a few months ago, after exploiting cyber-weaknesses in the financial system to steal millions from ATMs, these defendants were packing bags to the brim with stolen cash, destined for the cybercriminal organizers of these attacks,” said Loretta Lynch, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

The accused face up to 7.5 years in prison on the charge of access device fraud conspiracy. They could also be forced to forfeit illegal gains and pay a fine of as much as $250,000.

Prosecutors allege that defendants Anthony Diaz, Saul Franjul, Saul Genao, Jaindhi Polanco and Jose Angeley Valerio are members of the New York-based cell of an international cybercrime organization.