Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Gang Used 3D Printers for ATM Skimmers

Via Krebs on Security -

An ATM skimmer gang stole more than $400,000 using skimming devices built with the help of high-tech 3D printers, federal prosecutors say.


In June, a federal court indicted four men from South Texas (PDF) who authorities say had reinvested the profits from skimming scams to purchase a 3D printer. According to statements by the U.S. Secret Service, the gang’s leader, Jason Lall of Houston, was sent to prison for ATM fraud in 2009. Lall was instrumental in obtaining skimming devices, and the gang soon found themselves needing to procure their own skimmers. The trouble is, skimmer kits aren’t cheap: They range from $2,000 to more than $10,000 per kit.

Secret Service agents said in court records that on May 4, 2011, their undercover informer engaged in a secretly taped discussion with the ring’s members about a strategy for obtaining new skimmers. John Paz of Houston, one of the defendants, was allegedly the techie who built the skimming devices using a 3-D printer that the suspects purchased together. The Secret Service allege they have Paz on tape explaining the purchase of the expensive printer.


The government alleges Paz also was the guy who encoded the stolen card data onto counterfeit cards. The feds say Albert Richard of Missouri City, Texas prepared ATMs at numerous banks where the skimming devices were installed, by covering the ATM cameras or spray-painting over them, and by acting as a lookout.

A fourth defendant, John Griffin, is alleged to have used the counterfeit cards to withdraw funds at different ATMs around Texas. Prosecutors allege the group stole more than $400,000 between Aug. 2009 and June 2011. Prior to their arrest this summer, the gang started making decent money but they split the profits between them. Federal prosecutors say the men stole $57.808.14 in month of April 2011 alone (yes, that’s an odd amount to have come out of ATMs, but I digress).

The court documents don’t say how much the men spent on the 3D printer, nor do they include pictures of the fraud devices. The Secret Service declined to offer more details, citing an ongoing investigation. But i.materialize’s Franky De Schouwer said a high quality 3D printer can be had for between $10,000 and $20,000.

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