Two Men Arrested in Mall Teller Machine Scam
Jun. 30, 1993
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) _ Federal officials said Tuesday they have foiled one of the nation's most sophisticated bank-fraud schemes, arresting two men on charges they set up a bogus automatic teller machine in a mall and used it to drain more than $100,000 from accounts.
Authorities also have seized the phony ATM, computer software that copied secret codes and account information from the bank cards of customers who used it, and equipment that made counterfeit cards, U.S. Attorney Albert Dabrowski said.
Alan Scott Pace was arrested last week in New York City and Gerald Harvey Greenfield surrendered late Monday to Secret Service agents here. Dabrowski said a third suspect was being sought, but he described Pace and Harvey as the masterminds of the scheme.
For 16 days, the ATM set up at Buckland Hills Mall in Manchester copied secret codes from the cards of dozens of customers. The thieves then traveled the East Coast, using counterfeit cards encoded with the stolen information to make hundreds of illegal withdrawals at ATMs, authorities said.
They withdrew money in New York, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia. Banks weren't holding customers responsible for stolen money.
The case sent the banking industry scrambling for ways to prevent illegal use of the nation's 83,000 ATMs. Adding customer fingerprints, watermarks or holograms have been suggested as security measures.
Greenfield, 50, from Tucson, Ariz., was charged with credit card fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, interstate transportation of stolen property and conspiracy. He faces a hearing Thursday in U.S. District Court.
Pace, 30, also from Tucson, was charged with credit card fraud, wire fraud, interstate transportation of stolen property and conspiracy. He also is wanted by the FBI in Salt Lake City for wire fraud.
Pictures taken by ATMs showed the two wearing disguises as they made withdrawals with fake cards, said Dan Marchitello, the Secret Service agent in charge of the investigation.
The operation was run out of a Park Avenue office in New York City, prosecutors said. Pace and Greenfield used aliases, authorities said.
Three men posing as representatives of a New Jersey financial services company persuaded Buckland Hills Mall managers to let them install an ATM on wheels, authorities said.
The ATM was installed on April 24 and the thieves hauled it away on May 9, the day before the scam was uncovered, authorities said.
Three ATMs, including the machine used at the mall, were recovered May 16 from a self-storage warehouse in Stamford, authorities said.
Agents used the ATM photographs and descriptions from witnesses who dealt with the men when they installed the bogus machines to put together composite sketches of the suspects. In raids in Connecticut, Florida and New Jersey, authorities also seized computer software capable of simulating the functions of an ATM, credit card embossing equipment that can make fake ATM cards and a photo ID system used to fabricate driver's licenses, the Secret Service said.