Federal authorities say that a group of 14 defendants outwitted a sophisticated global bank to take more than $1 million. The case will probably involve conspiracy charges because the 14 people worked together to pull off the heist.
These defendants allegedly committed bank fraud by intentionally overdrawing the same account by tens of thousands of dollars at casino cash advance kiosks. After opening a number of accounts with Citibank, the defendants allegedly deposited $1,000 in each. By taking advantage of a loophole in Citibank's systems, they were able to withdraw much more money than they put in those accounts.
At a number of casinos, the defendants used cash advance kiosks to skirt Citibank's security systems. They allegedly worked together to make multiple withdrawals for the exact same amount within a single one-minute period. Citibank's system deemed each withdrawal to be a duplicate of one legitimate request. This allowed the defendants to massively overdraw each account. In sixty seconds, they could allegedly trick Citibank's accounts to withdraw tens of thousands of dollars.
Now that authorities have captured and indicted the group, they will likely face conspiracy charges in addition to bank or wire fraud counts. Conspiracy is a separate criminal act. It occurs when two or more people agree to do something illegal and then take some action towards accomplishing that goal. As long as the conspirators do anything that would help them carry out the illegal agreement, conspiracy charges apply. That is, the law does not require them to actually complete the crime.
This means that defendants can face charges for committing a crime and also for simply agreeing to cooperate to do the same thing. Conspiracy charges can rapidly raise the stakes for criminal defendants - anyone who faces these accusations should consult with an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney.
Source: NBC 7 San Diego, "'Gone in 60 Seconds' Casino Fraud Suspects Nabbed by FBI," Tony Shin, Oct. 27, 2012