Kok Meng Ng, 29, implanted a device in the card slots of 36 ATMs around Sydney which read and recorded information from cards’ magnetic strips, while a tiny camera mounted on the ATMs recorded the users’ personal identification numbers.
He then made copies of the cards, which he used to withdraw a total of A$623,426 (US$436,398).
Police finally caught him in November 2002, more than a year after he began stealing card details.
New South Wales district court convicted him of nine offences, involving stealing data and money. Sentenced to three years, Ng will be eligible for release in April 2005 and will be immediately deported to Malaysia.
“It’s the first of its kind in this country… and we are very happy we have impacted on stopping this crime”
Judge James Black called the scam a “serious attack on the fabric of life in this country.”
Outside the court, New South Wales Fraud Squad Detective Gordon Arbinja said he was happy to see the end of the scam, which could have cost millions if it had gone unchecked.
“It’s the first of its kind in this country… and we are very happy we have impacted on stopping this crime,” he said.
Ng had put money he stole into two bank accounts and shifted it overseas in amounts less than A$10,000 (US$7,000) to avoid detection.
Police have only recovered A$34,000 (US$23,800) of the stolen money.