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Man accused of 'ATM jackpotting' in Primm, hacking machines so they dispense cash like a jackpot

money pixabay file win
Posted at 6:37 PM, Aug 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-14 21:47:40-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A Venezuelan national was arraigned in federal court on Wednesday for allegedly hacking into several ATM machines at a casino in Primm causing the machines to dispense large amounts of cash similar to a jackpot, according to the Department of Justice.

“Our office is committed to investigating and prosecuting all cybercriminals – including computer hackers who illegally ‘jackpot’ ATM machines in Nevada – as they attempt to come up with new ways to circumvent cybersecurity systems,” said United States Attorney Trutanich.

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Jesus Ernesto Reyes Garcia, aka “Abraham Meza Cardenas,” 42, was indicted by a Grand Jury on Aug. 6 with six counts of computer fraud.

According to court documents, in March, the United States Secret Service was contacted regarding tampering with ATM machines in the Primm. It was reported there was a discrepancy between the amount of money requested and the amount actually dispensed.

This is an indication of ATM “jackpotting” or a “Man-in-the-Middle” attack, authorities say.

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ATM jackpotting refers to the use of malware to exploit the vulnerabilities in ATM machines that result in the machines dispensing more cash than authorized.

ATM Man-in-the-Middle attacks refer to the use of a device being inserted into the ATM to effectively tricking the ATM into dispensing cash.

As alleged, from Feb. 18 to March 3, Reyes Garcia and others were observed on surveillance video placing an unknown device behind various ATM machines located in the Primm Valley Resort Chevron.

While at the ATM, Reyes Garcia allegedly used stolen and fraudulent credit cards to withdraw cash. Each time a $20 withdrawal was requested, $800 or $1,000 would be dispensed.

As alleged, Reyes Garcia conducted a total of approximately 150 transactions and fraudulently withdrew a total of about $125,000 in cash.

Reyes Garcia was arrested in California on a federal complaint.

A jury trial is scheduled for Oct. 7.