A Turkish citizen of age 35, Ercan Findikoglu, was sentenced to jail on Friday by New York court to 8 years in prison due to his leadership role in a cyber criminal organisation which caused significant losses to the banks around the globe.
Findikoglu, known online as “Predator”, “Segate” and “Oreon,” pleaded guilty in last March to a computer intrusion conspiracy, an access device fraud conspiracy, and also effecting transactions with unauthorised devices. He nearly faced 58 years in prison.
According to the authorities, in between 2011 and 2013, the criminal gang Findikoglu was also part of three major campaigns which resulted in the losses worth more than $55 million.
These cyber crooks hacked into the systems of the payment card processing companies and stole the card data, including their PINs, and eliminated the withdrawal limits on all those cards. All the stolen card data was sent back to every other member of the group who encoded it onto magnetic strips of the blank cards. The cards and their PIN numbers were then distributed to a network of cashiers who then made thousands of fraudulent withdrawals at ATMs globally.
In their first operation, that took place in February 2011, these fraudsters made nearly 15,000 withdrawals in around 18 countries, and stole roughly $10 million.
Their third and largest operation took place back in February 2013, when these fraudsters withdrew nearly $40 million from 36,000 ATM transactions in around 24 countries. The cashiers in New York alone managed to obtain $2.4 million as a result of nearly 3,000 withdrawals.
Findikoglu was arrested in Germany in 2013 and extradited to the U.S. in 2015. Once he completes his prison sentence in the United States, he will be sent back to Turkey, where he has been sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison for payment card fraud.
The U.S. court that sentenced Findikoglu on Friday also ordered him to pay more than $55 million in restitution, but the New York Daily News reported that Turkish authorities seized all his assets and his current net worth is $150,000.