Seven people are under arrest in connection with a global cybercrime operation that officials say included the second largest bank heist in New York history.
U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta Lynch says the accused scammers hacked into bank and credit card companies and copied account and pin numbers of prepaid
Lynch says the group then eliminated withdrawal limits on the accounts, allowing the so-called "cashers" to withdraw unlimited amounts at ATMs.
Prosecutors say $45 million was stolen worldwide - including almost $3 million from ATMs in New York City -- over a 10 hour period back in February.
"This was a 21st century bank heist that reached through the Internet to span the globe. But instead of guns and masks this cyber crime organization used laptops and malware," Lynch said.
The defendants are all from Yonkers.
Prosecutors say one of the suspects was photographed at various ATMs around the city on February 19, a day when dozens of Manhattan cash machines were hit.
"He withdrew about $41,000 in about five and a half hours. Surveillance video shows his backpack getting heavier and heavier as his efforts go on," Lynch said.
Federal officials say an eighth suspect who is believed to be the ringleader was found dead in the Dominican Republic, triggering a separate investigation.
Prosecutors say some suspects posed for pictures with the cash they stole, which was used to buy luxury items, using the accounts of unsuspecting cardholders.
If convicted, the defendants could face up to seven and a half to 10 years on each of the money laundering and conspiracy charges.