Las Vegas Sun

September 20, 2019

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Man accused of hacking ATMs for $125,000

A man is accused of using a computer hack known as “jackpotting” to get ATMs at a Primm gas station to erroneously spit out some $125,000, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada.

Jesus Ernesto Reyes Garcia, a 42-year-old Venezuela national, was arrested in California and formally charged in a Las Vegas federal court Wednesday on six counts of computer fraud, officials said.

Garcia would put an unknown device behind the ATMs and use fraudulent credit cards to request $20 withdrawals, which would then prompt the machines to dispense up to $1,000 at a time, officials said.

Some 150 transactions over two weeks starting in February netted about $125,000, officials said.

The hack is known as “jackpotting,” a slot machine reference used because of the large amount of cash the machines are manipulated into spitting out, officials said.

“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,” Nicholas Trutanich, the U.S. attorney for Nevada, said in a statement.

A trial for Garcia was scheduled for Oct. 7.

Officials said more people, who were not identified, were involved in the scheme, but it was not clear if anyone else was in custody.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service.