In perhaps one of the craziest robbery plans ever, a group of cyber thieves managed to steal $45 million from ATMs around the world by hacking into an online debit card database.
Eight people in the United States have been charged for the crime. These suspects allegedly stole $2.8 million from banks in New York over a course of about 3,800 different transactions. That makes this the second largest bank heist in New York since the Lufthansa heist of 1978 shown in the movie Goodfellas.
Other culprits are responsible for gaining over $42 million in profits from different banks around the world.
The thieves hacked into the system at the National Bank of Ras Al-Khaimah PSC, located in the United Arab Emirates, to add money to prepaid MasterCard debit cards. They then used information from the cards to steal money from worldwide ATMs.
“The defendants and their co-conspirators participated in a massive 21st century bank heist that reached across the Internet and stretched around the globe,” said prosecuting attorney Loretta Lynch. “In the place of guns and masks, this cybercrime organization used laptops and the Internet.”
Investigators are worried that news of this heist will encourage others to commit crimes of a similar nature. “Selfies” of two alleged suspects riding around Manhattan after stealing money has made the act look very easy.
A worldwide search for all suspects involved is underway. More information to come.