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Slovak who used ATM flaw to draw €95,000 gets conditional sentence

In September 2009, the British Barclays Bank became the target of attack by fraudsters from Slovakia.

In September 2009, the British Barclays Bank became the target of attack by fraudsters from Slovakia.

Several dozen people withdrew large amounts of money through their own, as well as other people’s bank cards – thanks to a software fault which didn’t block the dispensation of money after their cash limit was exceeded. The withdrawals took place at about the same time in various places across Europe, but mainly in France. Several Slovaks were detained by police, but were released after their cards were found to indeed be their own. The damage was unofficially estimated at €1 million.

Slovaks learned about the fault by chance and spread the information among themselves, the Sme daily wrote October 31. A gang that knew about the loophole promised to pay cardholders a reward for letting them borrow bank cards.

One of the few to be charged is Eleonóra K, 35, from a Roma settlement of Bystrany in the Spišská Nová Ves District. From teller machines in the Czech town of Karviná, she made 41 withdrawals on September 11, 2009, taking out the equivalent of €95,500 in Czech crowns – although she actually had only €2.65 on her account and the limit for overdrawing was 300 pounds. She was charged with fraud and faced up to three years in prison, Sme wrote.

At the trial before Spišská Nová Ves District Court, Eleonóra confessed her guilt and showed regret. The mother of two, with no criminal convictions, thus got three years with five year probation. The court took into account that she returned part of the money (€5,000) to the bank and concluded an agreement on acknowledging the debt which she promised to repay in €100 monthly instalments that are to increase in the future. One of the conditions of the verdict is that she must repay the debt before her probation expires. If she fails to do so, she must serve the full sentence.

The woman has already repaid more than €17,000.

However, the district prosecutor appealed the previous district court’s verdict, and in the week of October 31, the Regional Court in Košice upheld it.

(Source: Sme)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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