Connecticut man admits stealing $2 million in ATM scam

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 08, 2011 6:24 PM
Connecticut man admits stealing $2 million in ATM scam

CONWAY, Mass (Reuters) - A Connecticut man who helped run a New England ATM network admitted on Thursday to stealing millions of dollars in cash over several years with others at his former company, federal prosecutors said.

Mirza Baig, 48, of Marlborough, Connecticut, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud for his role in the scam, said the office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut.

Baig worked for Branford, Connecticut-based New England Cash Dispensing Systems Inc., which operated a network of automated teller machines at establishments such as convenience stores and gas stations throughout the Northeast.

In March 2000, the company agreed to a venture with Rhode Island-based Domestic Bank, under which NECDS would provide ATM services and Domestic Bank would supply some cash for the machines.

Baig admitted that he and others, over several years, engaged in a conspiracy to defraud Domestic Bank of cash, in part by ordering excess cash and diverting it to other ATMs controlled by NECDS, prosecutors said. Baig and the others allegedly covered up the scam by misleading the bank about the accounting process, they said.

With his plea before U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven, Baig admitted that he personally stole $2 million for himself, prosecutors said.

Domestic Bank of Rhode Island ultimately lost $4.8 million in funds that it supplied to NECDS, they said.

Baig faces up to 30 years in prison and has agreed to pay $1 million before his sentencing, which is set for March 2012. He also faces a restitution order of about $4.8 million.

Joseph Sarlo, former chief executive of NECDS, John DeMilo, its former general manager and Gary Vestuti, an NECDS employee, all have pleaded guilty to similar charges and await sentencing.

(Reporting by Zach Howard, editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Greg McCune)