Six arrested in $45 million global cybercrime scheme

Mon Nov 18, 2013 5:10pm EST
 
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By Bernard Vaughan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Six people were arrested and charged on Monday for participating in a worldwide ATM heist that stole $45 million from two Middle East banks.

The five men and one woman, all residents of the New York City suburb of Yonkers, were accused of being members of a global cybercrime organization that stole Mastercard Inc debit-card information, according to an announcement from Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for Lynch's office, declined to comment on where the cybercrime organization is based, saying the investigation was ongoing.

The six arrested Monday were "cashers" in the scheme, withdrawing approximately $2.8 million from more than 140 ATMs in New York City, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

The hackers stole debit card data from the National Bank of Ras Al-Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates and Bank Muscat in Oman in two attacks in December 2012 and February 2013, according to prosecutors.

They broke into payment-processing companies used by the two banks and raised the balances and withdrawal limits on the cards, prosecutors said. Crews in more than 20 countries, such as the cell arrested Monday, then withdrew $5 million between December 21 and December 22 and $40 million between February 19 and February 20.

Five of the defendants arrested Monday -- Anthony Diaz, 24; Saul Franjul, 23; Saul Genao, 24; Jaindhi Polanco, 29; and Jose Angeley Valerio, 25 -- pleaded not guilty in federal court in Brooklyn to conspiracy to commit access device fraud. Their lawyers were not immediately available for comment.

A sixth defendant, Franklyn Ferriera, is expected to be arraigned on Tuesday. His age and the identity of his lawyer were not immediately available.   Continued...

 
Charts showing information related to eight members belonging to a New York-based cell of a global cyber criminal organization are displayed at a news conference in New York, May 9, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson