Accused Hacker Kingpin in Plea Talks With U.S. Over ATM Scam

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A Turkish man accused by the U.S. of masterminding a scheme that siphoned tens of millions of dollars from automated teller machines around the globe is negotiating a plea deal, prosecutors said.

Ercan Findikoglu, known as the “Predator,” has been held in a federal jail in New York since he was extradited from Germany last month. At a court hearing Wednesday in Brooklyn, prosecutors and a defense lawyer said the accused hacker is weighing a guilty plea.

“We’re hopeful we will be able to resolve this matter without the need for trial,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Hilary Jager told U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto in Brooklyn.

Prosecutors call Findikoglu a “mastermind of global cybercrime.” He’s accused of orchestrating global heists in which crews used stolen prepaid debit card data to drain more than $50 million from ATMs. In one instance, thieves withdrew $40 million over two days in February 2013. He faces as long as 35 years in prison if convicted of conspiracy and other crimes.

Federal prosecutors have stepped up the attack on overseas hackers. Also on Wednesday, the Justice Department announced criminal charges against a dozen people associated with hacking forum Darkode, including those in Pakistan, Slovenia, Sweden, Spain and the U.S.

Christopher Madiou, Findikoglu’s lawyer, told the judge that plea discussions are under way. He wouldn’t comment after court on details of the plea talks.

Findikoglu, 33, is scheduled to be in court again Sept. 10.

The case is U.S. v. Findikoglu, 13-cr-440, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).

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