ATM fraud is a crime. Understanding ATM Fraud requires understanding the vast array of crimes categorize under this broad term. Complex is an adequate description for this type of fraud. It’s handled by the State of New York at times, but it’s more often a federal crime. It falls into the scope of a federal crime because it poses harm or threat to a financial institution. Financial institutions are federal entities, and the government takes control of handling most cases of ATM fraud when they occur.
What is ATM Fraud?
Various crimes fall into the realm of ATM Fraud as defined by both the state and the federal government.
1. ATM Card Theft: Often described as the simplest way to commit ATM Fraud, this involves stealing someone’s ATM and using it to secure cash. It’s a little more advanced when someone places a small device inside an ATM that keeps the card in the machine after a transaction is complete. That person usually stands in line behind the next person who uses the machine. When the user becomes frustrated about being unable to retrieve his or her card, the criminal in line suggests re-entering the PIN and steals the number as its typed. They then remove the card when the original person enters the bank to seek help, and they run.
2. Theft from ATM: This type of ATM Fraud is defined as someone breaking into an ATM machine to steal the money from the inside. It’s not an easy process, but some criminals are successful in breaking into certain machines as a way of getting into the machine.
3. Theft of the ATM Machine: When a person steals an entire ATM machine, the crime falls into this category.
4. ATM Withdrawal Fraud: When a person opens an account at a financial institution, they are typically given an ATM card. They are expected to make deposits into their account to gain access to funds. This type of ATM crime involves opening an account at a financial institution and depositing checks that are either fraudulent or knowingly going to bounce from another account. The pending balance is then used to retrieve money from the ATM, and the customer disappears afterward.
5. ATM Skimming: This version of ATM fraud is nowhere near as simple as the others, and it’s often a more tech-savvy crime. When someone inserts a small machine inside an ATM that works like a card reader, it’s used to steal card information to provide criminals with personal financial information. This information is then used to create fake cards, accounts, and make purchases using the card numbers of other people.
ATM Fraud Punishment
Once a person is accused of committing ATM Fraud, they’re brought to trial. Depending on the evidence, the strength of the prosecution, and the convincing argument of the defense, potential criminal punishment includes any of the following:
If a person is charged with larceny, it’s handled by the state. The amount of money stolen during this crime depends on whether the charge is petite or grand larceny. If a debit or credit card is stolen and used to commit ATM fraud, the charge is guaranteed grand larceny. Identity theft is also considered a state crime and is tried in a state court. Wire fraud and bank fraud carry far more serious penalties. Bank fraud comes standard with up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.
A prosecutor with a strong case can take a defendant to court to seek penalty for ATM Fraud. Anyone charged with ATM fraud of any type needs the help of a criminal defense attorney. The fines and potential prison sentence for this crime vary significantly. Defendants relying on the help of an attorney are usually able to achieve a far better outcome than those representing themselves. This is not a simple crime that won’t make much of a difference on a person’s record. It’s potentially damaging to the defendants entire employment and financial future, which is why hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney is a wise move.
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