Two men were charged in the United States with bank fraud from their involvement an alleged ATM “jackpotting” operation.
Alex Alberto Fajin-Diaz, 31, a citizen of Spain, and Argenys Rodriguez, 21, of Springfield, Massachusetts, were both arrested on related state charges on January 27 and are currently detained.
ATM jackpotting is an attack technique targeting automated teller machines (ATMs), where criminals connect to these devices and install malware or use specialized hardware to control the operations of the machine and cause them to dispense cash.
While the attack method hasn’t been seen in the United States until recently, ATM makers and the U.S. Secret Service issued alerts last month on the technique being used in attacks in the U.S. as well. The alerts warned that ATMs located in pharmacies, big box retailers, and drive thru ATMs were being targeted by jackpotting attacks.
A Department of Justice announcement on Monday revealed that ATM jackpotting incidents recently occurred in Hamden, Guilford, and Providence, Rhode Island, and that federal, state and local law enforcement agencies have been investigating the attacks.
According to the criminal complaint, on January 27, 2018, Fajin-Diaz and Rodriguez were found near an ATM compromised with jackpotting malware and which “was in the process of dispensing $20 bills,” the DoJ announcement reads. On the same date, Citizens Bank investigators had contacted police after an apparent attack on an ATM in Cromwell.
“A search of Fajin-Diaz and Rodriguez’s vehicle, which had a license plate that was assigned to another vehicle, revealed tools and electronic devices consistent with items needed to compromise an ATM machine to dispense its cash contents. Faji-Diaz and Rodriguez also possessed more than $9,000 in $20 bills,” the DoJ says.
If found guilty of bank fraud, the two face a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
Although widely reported on only last week, ATM jackpotting attacks in the U.S. appear to have started several months ago, with the first suspects arrested in November 2017, as Oil City News reported at the time.