US charges 5 more in $45M global cybercrime scheme

Prosecutors say the defendants participated in a crime ring that robbed thousands of ATMs using bogus magnetic strip cards.

Five more people have been arrested in connection with a global cybercrime ring blamed for the theft of $45 million from banks around the world in a matter of hours.

The five men join eight other men who were indicted in May with participating in a scheme to rob thousands of ATMs using bogus magnetic strip cards. One of those original named defendants -- believed to be the ringleader of the cell -- was murdered in the Dominican Republic in April.

Using data stolen during hacks into two credit card processors, the ring made more than 40,500 withdrawals in 27 countries during two sprees in December and February, prosecutors said. The defendants eliminated the withdrawal limits from accounts during the intrusions and then fanned out across multiple cities with old hotel keys or expired credit cards encoded with the correct account information and access codes to quickly drain ATMs.

Surveillance cameras showed one of the original defendants allegedly moving from ATM to ATM, his backpack growing increasingly loaded with cash. Other defendants photographed themselves with wads of cash as they roamed Manhattan streets, prosecutors said.

On Monday, authorities charged Anthony Diaz, 24, Saul Franjul, 23, Saul Genao, 24, Jaindhi Polanco, 29, and Jose Angeley Valerio, 25, with conspiracy to commit access device fraud. Prosecutors said they have photographic evidence that the men, all from the Yonkers area of New York, transported $800,000 in cash proceeds from the heist to the now-deceased ringleader, who was then in Florida.

"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," US Attorney Loretta E. Lynch for the Eastern District of New York said in a statement. "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."

A sixth defendant named in the indictment, Franklyn Ferreira, is currently a fugitive from justice, prosecutors said. The new defendants face up to seven-and-a-half years in prison, as well as forfeiture and fines of up to $250,000.

 

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