June 19, 2018

Pair convicted in CT ‘jackpotting’ scheme

A Springfield man was convicted Monday of fraud for his participation in the "jackpotting'' theft of more than $120,000 from automated teller machines in Connecticut and Rhode Island, federal prosecutors say.

Argenys Rodriguez, 22, pleaded guilty in Hartford federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, the Connecticut U.S. Attorney's Office said Monday. An alleged accomplice also has been convicted in the case and awaits sentencing.

Rodriguez faces up to 30 years in prison when sentenced Sept. 26. He is free on $100,000 bond, authorities said.

According to investigators, automated teller machine (ATM) makers for some time have been probing malware attacks on their machines in Connecticut and across the nation.

In a scheme known as "jackpotting," perpetrators posing as ATM techs install malware designed to cause an ATM to eject all of its currency -- typically hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars at a time. Other individuals then proceed to extract all of the cash from the ATM.

On Jan. 27, Citizens Bank investigators contacted Cromwell police after they observed an alleged jackpotting attack on an ATM in town.

Police arrived, authorities said, and found Rodriguez and Alex Alberto Fajin-Diaz near an ATM that had been compromised with malware and was in the process of dispensing $20 bills. A search of the men's vehicle revealed tools and electronic devices consistent with items needed to compromise an ATM machine.

Both were found in possession of approximately $5,600 in cash, but the investigation revealed that a total of $63,200 was taken from the ATM that day, investigators said. Days earlier, authorities said Rodriguez, Fajin-Diaz and others illegally obtained $63,820 from a Citizens Bank ATM in Rhode Island.

Fajin-Diaz, 32, a citizen of Spain, pleaded guilty to the same charge on June 12, and awaits sentencing. He remains in custody.

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