A Turkish man has been extradited to the US to face
charges he organised cyberattacks that led to $55 million being extracted from ATMs in
the GCC and New York.
Ercan Findikoglu, 33, is believed to be the mastermind
behind an organisation that hacked stolen debit card data and distributed it to
teams of "cashing crews" around the world who then used it to carry
out tens of thousands of fraudulent ATM withdrawals.
Prosecutors say he used the online code names “Segate”
and “Predator” and used the stolen information to increase cards’ withdrawal
limits before crews pilfered money from ATMs in sophisticated operations.
The largest heist was against customers of Bank Muscat in
Oman, according to court documents referred to by local media.
Information from the hacked cards was used by crews in 24
countries to execute 36,000 transactions over a two-day period in February
2013, withdrawing a total of $40 million from ATMs, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Also in the Gulf, about $5 million was stolen from the National
Bank of Ras Al Khaimah in December 2012, court documents said.
Findikoglu, one of the world’s most wanted
cybercriminals, also is accused of targeting the American Red Cross, stealing
$10 million intended to provide relief to disaster victims by compromising cards
issued by JPMorgan Chase & Co in February 2011.
In another brazen attack on the Saturday before Christmas
in 2012, Findikoglu’s cashing crew in New York allegedly withdrew $400,000 from
140 ATMs in less than three hours.
In total, the New York crew is alleged to have withdrawn
$2.8m in 2012 and 2013. Thirteen of the crew's members have pleaded guilty,
according to the Daily Telegraph.
Findikoglu has pleaded not guilty to 18 charges including
computer intrusion, bank and wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering.
He had fought extradition from Germany for 18 months,
according to the The New York Times. He was refused bail.
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