JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (6/19/09)--Police in Jacksonsville, Fla., recently made three arrests in a complex ATM fraud ring involving more than 100 people. The ring defrauded a number of Florida credit unions.
Ophel Day, Tony Fudge and Jacob Dunn were arrested for depositing bad checks into ATMs and then making withdrawals or purchases before the checks bounced, according to federal investigators (WJXT Jacksonville June 17).
The fraud has cost local credit unions from $300,000 to $500,000, police said. Affected credit unions include Jacksonville-based Vystar CU and Mulberry, Fla.-based Community First CU.
More arrests will be made, Paul Elliot of the Secret Service, told the newspaper.
The scam begins when account holders sell their ATM cards and personal identification numbers for up to $500 to a "recruiter" in the ring, authorities said. The recruiter then passes the information on to the scam's ringleader. Individuals giving up their card then report the card as stolen (Jacksonville.com June 17).
Recruiters deposit checks that are counterfeit, stolen or from closed accounts into ATMs. The active accounts allow a percentage of the money deposited to be immediately withdrawn, with subsequent withdrawals and purchases from businesses conducted before the check is returned, authorities said.
Account holders often report that their cards are stolen or lost after the thefts occur. Many are reimbursed for losses they claim--which results in a double whammy to the financial institutions involved, authorities added.
In the end, costs are borne by legitimate customers through fees--or in the case of credit unions through the increased cost of conducting business, police and a credit union official told Jacksonville.com.
courtesy of cuna.org