Ercan Findikoglu, the Turkish born bank hacker allegedly behind the theft of millions of dollars has pleaded guilty in a US court, and could now face a jail term of more than fifty years.
Between 2010 and 2013 the man is believed to have coordinated three advanced cybercrime campaigns against US based banks and financial institutions by hacking into credit and debit card networks. Once access had been gained, Findikoglu is then thought to have changed access privileges that allowed himself and others to inflate balances and remove withdrawal limits on prepaid debit cards. The next stage in the operation then involved the systematic withdrawal of money via cash machines using cloned credit and debit cards over a three-year period.
US prosecutors said that in February 2013 gang mules acting for Findikoglu managed to withdraw more than $42,000,000 from 3,000 ATM machines.
“By hacking into the computer networks of global financial institutions, the defendant and his co-conspirators were able to wreak havoc with the worldwide financial system by simultaneously withdrawing tens of millions of dollars. Today’s guilty plea by a leader of these massive cyberattacks demonstrates this office’s commitment to pursue those who use the perceived safety and anonymity of their computers to steal from innocent victims,” said United States Attorney Roger Capers.
While the jail term Findikoglu faces could result in a five-decade stretch in jail, prosecutors have apparently reached a plea deal with the Turkish citizen and Findikoglu is set to server no more than 15 years.
Secret Service Special Agent in charge of the international investigation stated that:
“The Secret Service’s New York Electronic Crimes Task Force continues to seek new and innovative ways to combat emerging cyber threats.”
Findikoglu was caught and arrested at Frankfurt airport in 2013, and fought extradition to the US for more than 18 months.