Citibank Systems’ ’60 Second’ Flaw Helps Scammers Steal $ 1 Million
A number of 14 people have been accused of stealing more than one million dollars (800,000 EUR) from Citibank by exploiting a vulnerability in the bank’s electronic transaction security protocols. 13 of the suspects were arrested last week by law enforcement.
In order to steal all the money from the cash machines placed in casinos in Nevada and Southern California, the thieves exploited a loophole that allowed them to make multiple withdrawals within 60 seconds.
The mastermind of the scheme, Ara Keshishyan, 29, recruited the other suspects and made them open several Citibank checking accounts in which they deposited seed money.
Then, they visited various casinos and took advantage of the security hole to withdraw the amount of money deposited into the accounts multiple times during the 60 second period.
To avoid raising any suspicion, deposits and withdrawals have been kept below $ 10,000 (EUR 8,000). This way, they were able to bypass federal transaction reporting requirements.
The suspects were charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and conspiracy to illegally structure financial transactions in order to avoid reporting payments.
The mastermind of the scheme is also charged with 14 counts of bank fraud and, if found guilty, could spend the rest of his life behind bars, as each count of bank fraud carries a sentence of up to up to 30 years in prison.
“While technological advancements have created a world of accessibility for users and convenience for consumers, they have also made room for criminals to exploit even the smallest of loopholes,” FBI Special Agent said. Daphne Hearn.
“For more than 100 years, the FBI has kept pace with technological and communication changes in the business world where these types of electronic transactions are the norm and we will continue to do so in order to protect business enterprises and the economy from. our country. “