Accused Hacker Extradited to U.S.

Thursday, June 25, 2015 @ 01:06 PM gHale

A suspect in a massive global ATM hacking operation is in the United States after he ended up extradited from Germany on Tuesday.

Ercan Findikoglu, 33, of Turkey, boarded a flight to New York on Tuesday after losing his fight against extradition from a German prison, according to a law enforcement official. Police arrested Findikoglu during a trip to Frankfurt in December 2013 after eluding U.S. capture for five years.

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Findikoglu is a suspect in the case of an organized a criminal operation that stole $40 million in cash from ATMs within 10 hours in February 2013 in New York City and 23 other countries, according to a ruling in his extradition case from the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany. The unlimited cash out operations used hacked debit cards with withdrawal limits removed to make ATMs spew money.

Findikoglu ended up indicted on 18 criminal charges by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, according to the German court. Officials sealed the indictment and a criminal complaint against him. Findikoglu’s lawyer in Frankfurt, Oliver Wallasch, declined to comment.

Meanwhile, another hacker, Alex Yucel, ended up sentenced Tuesday to four years and nine months in a U.S. prison after pleading guilty to computer crimes. He sold malware to thousands of users in more than 100 countries. The malware could end up used to steal identities and secretly control computers.

The German court said Findikoglu is the most-wanted computer hacker in the world and may face more than 247 years in prison if convicted of all U.S. charges.

Loretta Lynch, former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York who is now the attorney general, led the prosecution of members of the New York cell for participating in the February 2013 operation.

The theft was “a massive 21st century bank heist that reached across the Internet and stretched around the globe,” Lynch said at the time, without naming Findikoglu as the mastermind.

Hackers broke into the computers of credit card processors and compromised prepaid debit card accounts by removing withdrawal limits and account balances, according to the U.S. Justice Department. The account numbers ended up given to hacker cells and encoded onto other cards to make the ATM withdrawals.

“In the place of guns and masks, this cybercrime organization used laptops and the Internet,” Lynch said. “Law enforcement is committed to moving just as swiftly to solve these cybercrimes and bring their perpetrators to justice.”