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Hacker behind elaborate $55-million ATM scheme pleads guilty in US court

A Turkish hacker behind one of the biggest financial heists in history has pleaded guilty in a US court. He was extradited from Germany last year.

Ercan Findikoglu, 34, admitted in a New York court on Tuesday to leading an elaborate global network that stole $55 million (50 million euros) from thousands of ATMs around the world between 2011 and 2013.

US prosecutors said that Findikoglu

hacked into the computer systems

of payment processing companies, dramatically increased the limits on pre-paid debit cards, and then managed "cashing crews" around the globe to remove money from ATMs.

In one February 2013 attack, cashing crews in 24 countries netted $40 million through 36,000 ATM transactions in only 10 hours, prosecutors said. In another February 2011 scheme, 15,000 fraudulent ATM transactions in 18 countries scored $10 million in illicit funds, prosecutors also claimed.

The US government has called the schemes one of the most elaborate financial heists in history.

Findikoglu pleaded guilty to five charges, including computer intrusion conspiracy. Under the plea deal, he is likely to face between 11 years and 15 years in prison.

He was arrested in Germany in 2013 and deported last year after an 18-month extradition battle.

cw/gsw (AP, Reuters)

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