Eight New York City residents have been charged with taking part in an international fraud ring that, prosecutors alleged, cost two Middle Eastern banks millions in card fraud.
The prosecutors alleged in an indictment made public May 9 that the thieves hacked into the computer networks of the National Bank of Ras Al-Khamah in the United Arab Emirates, commonly called RAKBANK, and the Bank of Muscat in Oman. Once inside, the thieves allegedly gathered debit card data and changed the daily withdrawal limits on accounts. The compromised card numbers were allegedly shared with members of the organization in 26 countries which proceed to loot the banks through ATM networks over the next 13 hours.
“As charged in the indictment, the defendants and their co-conspirators participated in a massive 21st century bank heist that reached across the Internet and stretched around the globe. In the place of guns and masks, this cybercrime organization used laptops and the Internet. 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 in a matter of hours,” stated United States Attorney Loretta Lynch, announcing the indictment against U.S. participants in the scheme. “Law enforcement is committed to moving just as swiftly to solve these cybercrimes and bring their perpetrators to justice.”
“New technologies and the rapid growth of the Internet have eliminated the traditional borders of financial crimes and provided new opportunities for the criminal element to threaten the world’s financial systems. However, as demonstrated by the charges and arrests announced today, the Secret Service and its law enforcement partners have adapted to these technological advancements and utilized cutting edge investigative techniques to thwart this cybercriminal activity,” said Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Hughes.