Federal prosecutors in New York say a gang of cyber-criminals stole $45 million by hacking their way into a database of prepaid debit cards.
Authorities announced Thursday that seven people are under arrest in the case, which involved thousands of thefts from ATMs in 26 countries.
Prosecutors say an eighth person involved in the crime was murdered in the Dominican Republic late last month.
Seven of the eight defendants have been arrested on the charges in the indictment: the arrested defendants are Jael Mejia Collado, Joan Luis Minier Lara, Evan Jose Peña, Jose Familia Reyes, Elvis Rafael Rodriguez, Emir Yasser Yeje and Chung Yu Holguin, all residents of Yonkers, N.Y.
The U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn, Loretta Lynch, called it "a massive 21st Century bank heist."
She said the New York cell of a global theft operation withdrew $2.8 million in cash from hacked accounts in less than a day.
"In the place of guns and masks, this cybercrime organization used laptops and the Internet. Moving as swiftly as data over the Internet, the organization worked its way from the computer systems of international corporations to the streets of New York City, with the defendants fanning out across Manhattan to steal millions of dollars from hundreds of ATMs in a matter of hours," said Lynch.
The U.S. Secret Service and Homeland Security learned of the thefts from the banks. So far very little of the $45 million stolen has been recovered.
Arrests began in March.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
ALBERTO YUSI LAJUD-PEÑA (deceased)
JAEL MEJIA COLLADO
JOAN LUIS MINIER LARA
EVAN JOSE PEÑA
JOSE FAMILIA REYES
ELVIS RAFAEL RODRIGUEZ
EMIR YASSER YEJE
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