News / USA

US Charges 8 in $45 Million Cyber Crime Scheme

TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— The U.S. government charged eight individuals with using data obtained by hacking into two credit card processors in a worldwide scheme that netted some $45 million within hours, a crime prosecutors described as one of the biggest bank heists in history.
 
The individuals formed the New York-based cell of a global cyber criminal organization that stole Mastercard Inc  debit card data from two Middle Eastern banks, the Justice Department said. The information was used to make more than 40,500 withdrawals at automated teller machines in 27 countries, prosecutors said.
 
The cards were issued by National Bank of Ras Al-Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates and Bank of Muscat in Oman, prosecutors said.
 
Bank representatives could not be reached for comment outside of regular business hours.
 
The case demonstrates the major threat that cyber crime still poses to banks around the world. Security experts frequently identify electronic fraud as one of the key challenges facing banks today.
 
“Hackers only need to find one vulnerability to cause millions of dollars of damage,'' said Mark Rasch, a former federal cyber crimes prosecutor, based in Bethesda, Maryland.
 
Authorities said they arrested seven of the eight defendants, all U.S. citizens and residents of Yonkers, New York. They are Jael Mejia Collado, Joan Luis Minier Lara, Evan Jose PeIna, Jose Familia Reyes, Elvis Rafael Rodriguez, Emir Yasser Yeje and Chung Yu-Holguin.
 
The eighth defendant charged in the indictment, Alberto Yusi Lajud-PeIna, also known as “Prime'' and “Albertico,'' was murdered on April 27 in the Dominican Republic, according to prosecutors. U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch in Brooklyn, New York, who filed the charges, said at a press conference it was unclear whether the murder was related to the cybercrime case.
 
Prosecutors said the attacks, known as “unlimited operations,'' occurred in two separate incidents in December 2012 and February 2013.
 
The hackers gained access to companies that process debit card transactions, eliminated the maximum withdrawal limits on the cards and then employed “casher'' crews to take money out of ATMs around the world using the stolen data, prosecutors said.
 
After the cards were shut down, cashers laundered the proceeds, often by purchasing luxury goods, and sent a portion of the money back to the organization's leaders, prosecutors said.
 
In the New York City area, the ring withdrew nearly $400,000 in less than three hours at more than 140 ATM locations, prosecutors said. On another occasion, approximately $2.4 million was collected in nearly 3,000 ATM withdrawals over a 10-hour stretch, according to prosecutors.
 
That makes the case the second biggest bank robbery in New York City history, Lynch said, after the so-called “Lufthansa heist,'' in which robbers stole millions in cash and jewelry from John F. Kennedy International Airport.
 
Lynch said it was likely that the headquarters of the global scheme is located outside the United States and that the current charges focused only on the New York-based cell. Investigators are examining whether other cells are operating elsewhere in the United States, she said.
 
In a statement, Mastercard said it had cooperated with law enforcement in the investigation and stressed that its systems were not involved or compromised in the attacks.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid