Authorities Bust Up Worldwide ATM Fraud Scheme

Dennis Faas's picture

Six people have been arrested in connection with a massive, worldwide ATM fraud scheme that raked in an estimated $45 million.

The banks affected were based in the Middle East, though all of the suspects recently arrested hail from Yonkers, New York.

According to reports, early this year a team of cybercriminals used "sophisticated intrusion techniques" to hack into the financial systems of at least two Middle East banks, including the National Bank of Ras Al-Khaimah (in the United Aram Emirates) and the Bank of Muscat (in Oman).

The latter was hit hardest. Investigators estimate that $40 million was stolen from the Bank of Muscat in February 2013 alone. (Source:

Thieves Pack Luggage with Stolen Cash

The hackers used stolen prepaid MasterCard debit card information to make withdrawals from 140 ATMs in New York City alone.

Generally speaking, the scheme was quite organized. Investigators say the stolen cash was neatly and efficiently directed towards the organization's leadership. However, some of these funds were transported in a rather unsophisticated way -- such as in luggage transported by bus.

"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," noted Eastern District of New York U.S. attorney, Loretta Lynch.

"Today, we have sent them packing once again -- but this time, to jail. We will not relent until all those responsible for these financially devastating cybercrimes are brought to justice." (Source:

Defendants Face Hefty Fine, Seven Years in Jail

Most of those people arrested are in their mid-to-late twenties. They face charges of conspiracy to commit access device fraud. Most of the defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Strangely, four other defendants -- all arrested earlier this year -- have already pleaded guilty to various charges.

Defendants face a fine of $250,000 and more than seven years in prison.

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