US charges two suspects in ATM 'jackpotting' case

(REUTERS) - The US Justice Department announced on Monday (Feb 5) charges against two men who allegedly committed criminal bank fraud by hacking into ATM machines and forcing them to spit out cash like a slot machine jackpot.

Alex Alberto Fajin-Diaz, a 31-year-old citizen of Spain, and Argenys Rodriguez, 21, of Springfield, Massachusetts, appeared before a federal judge on Monday and are being detained, according to a statement from the US attorney's office in Connecticut.

The pair was arrested on related state charges on Jan 27, the Justice Department said. They were found in possession of more than US$9,000 (S$11,898) in US$20 bills as well as tools and devices that would be needed to compromise ATM machines and force them to eject cash, the authorities said.

The US Secret Service last week said a group of hackers likely tied to international criminal syndicates had pilfered more than $1 million from ATM machines across the country.

The heists, which involve hacking ATMs to rapidly shoot out torrents of cash, have been observed across the United States spanning from the Gulf Coast to New England, Matthew O'Neill, a special agent in the criminal investigations division, told Reuters in an interview.

Diebold Nixdorf Inc and NCR Corp, two of the world's largest ATM makers, also warned last month that cyber criminals were targeting ATMs with tools needed to carry out so-called jackpotting schemes.

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