A group of thieves were able to steal $45 million from thousands of ATMs across over 20 countries, and the thieves did not use a single threat or a weapon.
That is, of course, unless you count a computer as a weapon, as these thieves hacked their way into pocketing the eight-figure amount.
All of this went down in a matter of hours, as the thieves meticulously planned and plotted to steal this money.
The crime was not a perfect one, however, as eight members of the group’s New York City crew were indicted on four counts after racking up approximately $2.4 million from nearly 3,000 ATMs in New York City alone.
The incident went down across two days back in February, and the scale and sophistication of this operation may very well change how people steal money.
“In the place of guns and masks, this cybercrime organization used laptops and the Internet,” said Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch of the operation, which is one of the largest cyber thefts in recent memory. “Moving as swiftly as data over the Internet, the organization worked its way from the computer systems of international corporations to the streets of New York City, with the defendants fanning out across Manhattan to steal millions of dollars from hundreds of ATMS.”
The hackers allegedly hacked computer systems of credit card processors in order to steal personal information on debit card accounts, giving them the ability to claim other people’s money from ATMs.
The hackers would then manipulate the balances on debit card accounts in order to withdraw large amounts of cash.
The operation spread to approximately 4,500 ATMs in over 20 countries, with over 36,000 ATM fraudulent ATM withdrawals happening within 10 hours.
They were working at such a fast clip, that the hackers were able to withdraw nearly $400,000 from approximately 140 New York City ATMs within two hours and 25 minutes.
The indictment in Brooklyn states that the New York ring was led by Alberto Yusi Lajud-Pena, 25, who was also known as “Prime” and “Albertico.”
Other men charged in the operation are Elvis Rafael Rodriguez, 24, and Emir Yasser Yeje, 24, who allegedly laundered the money by depositing cash into bank accounts and using it to purchase expensive watches and luxury cars.
Lajud-Pena was found murdered in the Dominican Republic last month, with some saying he was killed over a dominoes game.
Seven of the eight suspected members of the group’s New York chapter have been arrested and indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit access device fraud, money laundering conspiracy and money laundering.
They face up to 10 years in prison on each money laundering charge, 7.5 years on the access device fraud count and up to $250,000 in fines.