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Berserk Cash Machine Shares the Wealth

April 26, 1988

NEW YORK (AP) _ Bank error in your favor: Collect $20 for every $5 you wanted.

They weren’t playing Monopoly, but some Manhattan bank customers were able to take advantage of just such a chance when a cash machine went berserk over the weekend.

If you asked the First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Rochester cash machine for $40 on Sunday, you got $160; if you asked for $60, you got $240. Etcetera. And accounts were charged only for the amounts requested.

A line of eager card holders quickly formed at the machine when customers discovered the flaw.

″I called everybody I knew,″ a writer who asked not to be identified for fear of prosecution told New York Newsday.

First Federal said it would try to track down customers once it determined how much was lost and who was making withdrawals while the machine was in the giving mood. Bank cash machines in the city typically hold about $100,000.

Elizabeth Taylor, vice president of the New York Cash Exchange, a cash machine network, said such malfunctions are rare. The last such give-away in metropolitan New York occurred three years ago, she said.

Although the cash machine panel has a telephone for reporting emergency problems, the response was not overwhelming. The branch manager reported getting one call - Monday morning.

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