A Turkish citizen pleaded not guilty to charges he masterminded a scheme that siphoned tens of millions of dollars from automated teller machines, appearing in a U.S. court for the first time after an 18-month extradition battle, reports Bloomberg News. Ercan Findikoglu, known as the “Predator,” allegedly ran a network that hacked payment processing firms, getting access to prepaid debit cards. The scheme included JPMorgan Chase & Co.-issued cards used by the Red Cross to provide funds to disaster victims, said a federal grand jury indictment unsealed yesterday in Brooklyn.
The compromised cards were distributed in New York City and at least 20 countries to withdraw money from ATMs. Three such operations resulted in withdrawals of a total of $55 million. In one case, the group used compromised cards in about 36,000 transactions to withdraw about $40 million over two days in 2013. Findikoglu eluded capture for five years before being caught in Germany in December 2013. Members of his alleged New York cell were caught within months and prosecuted by a team led by Loretta Lynch, the former Brooklyn U.S. Attorney who is now U.S. Attorney General.