By: Hank Schlesinger
A Queens, N.Y., man has been charged with multiple felonies for allegedly stealing nearly a quarter of a million dollars in cash from two ATMs. According to local law enforcement authorities, in December of 2017,a Queens resident named Eric Salazar Montano, 33, posed as a technician to re-reprogram the ATM units in Elmhurst and Kew Gardens, forcing the machines to dispense cash as if the user had hit a slot machine jackpot.
The machines, according to a statement released by the Queens District Attorney’s office, were located in the Queens Center Mall in Elmhurst, and a grocery store on Metropolitan Ave. in Kew Gardens. In each instance, Montano was caught on surveillance video with an unidentified accomplice wearing a fraudulent technician’s uniform and gaining access to the unit. After allegedly manipulating the ATM’s software, the defendant and his accomplice left the area and returned again minutes later. Thereafter, others, who remain unapprehended, approached the ATM one at a time and removed cash without using a bank card.
A court-authorized search warrant on Montano’s residence allegedly recovered a forged credit/debit card along with more than $42,000 in cash.
“As society becomes more tech savvy, today’s criminals are keeping pace and finding new ways to enrich themselves illegally. The defendant in this case is accused of using his computer skills to hack into ATM software and collect the cash that poured out of the manipulated machines,” said Queens D.A. Richard A. Brown. “This new trend is called ‘jackpotting’ and we are set to deliver big losses for gamblers who ante up. My office will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to stay ahead of the curve and prosecute those who find new ways to steal from others.”
The defendant was arraigned March 13 in Queens Criminal Court on a complaint that charges him with second-degree grand larceny, first-degree computer tampering, second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, and computer trespass. If convicted, Montano faces up to 15 years in prison.