Two men are facing charges of bank fraud for their involvement in an ATM “jackpotting” operation, officials said.
Argenys Rodriguez, 21, of Springfield, MA, and Alex Alberto Fajin-Diaz, 31, of Spain, were both arrested Jan. 27. They appeared in federal court in Hartford, CT, Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna F. Martinez. They remain detained awaiting trial.
ATM jackpotting is an attack technique targeting automated teller machines (ATMs), where attackers 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, the U.S. Secret Service issued an alert last month on the technique seeing greater usage in the U.S.
The alert warned ATMs located in pharmacies, big box retailers, and drive thru ATMs were being targeted by jackpotting attacks.
As part of the attack, individuals dressed as legitimate repair technicians install malware on an ATM. Other individuals then proceed to extract all of the cash from the ATM, according to the Department of Justice (DoJ).
ATM jackpotting incidents recently occurred in Hamden and Guilford, CT, and Providence, RI, and federal, state and local law enforcement agencies have been investigating the attacks, the DoJ said.
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 said. On the same date, Citizens Bank investigators had contacted police after an apparent attack on an ATM in Cromwell, CT.
“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 said.
If found guilty of bank fraud, the two face a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.