This isn’t your mama’s heist.
A sophisticated group of global thieves managed to pull off the ultimate robbery in which Internet hackers and common street criminals were able to steal $45 million from ATM machines around the world. No guns. No ski masks. Just brains.
The New York Times reports:
“After pulling off the December theft, the organization grew more bold, and two months later it struck again — this time nabbing $40 million.
On Feb. 19, cashing crews were in place at A.T.M.’s across Manhattan and in two dozen other countries waiting for word to spring into action.
[...] After securing 12 account numbers for cards issued by the Bank of Muscat in Oman and raising the withdrawal limits, the cashing crews were set in motion. Starting at 3 p.m., the crews made 36,000 transactions and withdrew about $40 million from machines in the various countries in about 10 hours. In New York City, a team of eight people made 2,904 withdrawals, stealing $2.4 million.
Surveillance photos of one suspect at various A.T.M.’s showed the man’s backpack getting heavier and heavier, [Loretta E. Lynch] said, comparing the series of thefts to the caper at the center of the movie ‘Ocean’s Eleven.’”
Prosecutors said the job was one of the largest heists in New York City history, topping the 1978 Lufthansa robbery which inspired the movie Goodfellas.
Hackers were successful in raising the withdrawal limits on several prepaid debit accounts which, in come some countries, allowed criminals to unload more than $10,000 from a single bank machine. The prepaid cards also allowed the thieves to take money without draining the bank account of individuals.
In the aforementioned December theft, robbers were able to withdraw $5 million through 4,500 ATM transactions around the world.
On Thursday (May 9), federal prosecutors charged eight men in New York for their alleged role in the scheme– including the suspected ringleader who was reportedly killed in the Dominican Republic last month.