Casino scammers remove $ 1 million from Citibank kiosks
The FBI has charged 14 people with the theft of more than $ 1 million in an elaborate scam of cash advance casino kiosks operated by Citibank in Southern California and Nevada.
According to an indictment, the defendants stole the money by exploiting a loophole – which required multiple withdrawals in less than 60 seconds – in Citibank’s electronic transaction security protocols.
The gang opened fake Citibank accounts using seed money provided by ringleader Ara Keshishyan. He and his co-defendants then went to nearly a dozen casinos and withdrew the money in a series of coordinated withdrawals that exploited a 60-second gap in updating account balances.
The indictment alleges that once the money was recovered from the casino cages, Keshishyan usually gave his share to the conspirators – and kept the rest of the stolen funds – which were often used for gambling. Casinos frequently offered the conspirators free rooms due to their extensive gambling activity. As part of the alleged scheme, the defendants were also careful to keep their deposits and withdrawals below $ 10,000 in order to avoid the demands. federal authorities regarding transaction reporting.
All defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and conspiracy to illegally structure financial transactions to avoid reporting obligations, which carries a sentence of up to five years. prison and a fine of $ 250,000. In addition, the accused Keshishyan is charged with 14 counts of bank fraud, each carrying a sentence of up to 30 years in prison and a fine of $ 1,000,000.