Sunday, 30 January 2011

Chinese ATM criminal using Fake ATM jailed for 10.5 years..

Ten and half years for a financial crime, now that is indeed a penalty!  In Western Europe sentences for similar crimes are typically less, often a lot less ............ and according to the Shanghai Daily the man in question, a Mr Huang, was also convicted of forging financial bills and fined 50,000 Yuan ($7,143 approx).

It seems he used the internet to teach himself how to obtain card and PIN data, and then how to make counterfeit cards.  He started in 2007 after losing his job.  His initial modus operandi appeared to be the installation of skimmers into modified lobby door opening devices leading to ATMs (the door opening devices were modified by having the PIN shield removed - thereby making visual PIN compromise easier).

More recently he seems to have acquired  a fake ATM machine and installed it in Beijing.  This time the skimmer would no doubt have been fixed at the card reader, and the PIN compromised by micro camera.  Apparently people trying to use the ATM got an 'out-of-service' message on the screen.  Mr Huang is stated to have used the fraudulently acquired data to make 31 counterfeit cards, thereby netting himself 127,600 Yuan ($18,229 approx).  According to a plan found by Police on his computer, his target was to make 500,000 Yuan ($71,429 approx) over a 10 day period.

This form of scam is well known in the USA, and has occured in Europe - what is noteworthy of this one is that a self-taught individual perpetrated the crime......seemingly in isolation.  While the total sums involved may not seem a lot to those hardened to published financial crime loss information in the West,  in China the sums represent an awful lot of money to the average person.

Mr Huang has been sent to jail for over 10 years and also fined just under half the amount he stole - which possibly means that he will leave jail with debt (although he is appealing against the fine).  For those frustrated by the apparent leniency of penalties for similar crimes in Europe,  it may be of interest to monitor China more closely to see if related crime levels remain the full story in the Shanghai Daily here

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