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Eight charged in electronic theft of $45 million

May 9, 2013 at 3:24 PM

NEW YORK, May 9 (UPI) -- An investigation spanning two dozen countries ended with eight persons charged with a bank hacking theft of $45 million, federal prosecutors in New York said.

U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch of the Eastern District of New York said in a release Thursday the thefts took place in two rounds of hacking attacks -- one in December and one in February. The $45 million was taken in about 40,000 ATM transactions conducted worldwide over several hours, with about $2.8 million taken from New York banks, prosecutors allege.

The attackers used prepaid MasterCard debit cards issued by banks in the United Arab Emirates and Oman. But they allegedly withdrew money from banks around the world.

"The defendants and their co-conspirators participated in a massive 21st-century bank heist that reached across the Internet and stretched around the globe. In the place of guns and masks, this cybercrime organization used laptops and the Internet," Lynch said.

The federal office said one of the eight alleged thieves was killed April 27 in the Dominican Republic. The others were tracked down and arrested from March 27 through Tuesday.

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