Aida Marchesi

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Bank programmer withdraws $1M from ATM without anyone knowing

A victimless crime?

A Chinese bank software programmer has been jailed after withdrawing 7 million yuan (over $1million USD) from ATMs operated by his employer.

The 43-year-old man, named Qin Qisheng, made over 1,358 withdrawals from November 2016 to January 2018 before Huaxia Bank caught on to what he was up to.

The bank’s systems weren't properly reconciling cash withdrawals around midnight, which was when Qisheng suppressed alerts to the bank that this was happening. It meant that any customer could take out money without it coming out of their accounts.

He took out cash withdrawals of 5,000 to 20,000 yuan ($740-$2,965 USD) each time using a dummy account created by the company to test its systems.

The programmer told bosses at the bank that he was testing the company’s security system and that the money taken was just resting in his account. Obviously that was not the case with Qisheng who invested some of the money into stocks and shares.

Despite returning all the money to the bank before his arrest, Qisheng has been sentenced to over 10 years in prison with a 11,000 yuan fine.

He probably would’ve got away with it too if it wasn’t for a manual check that revealed the irregular activity. It was only then that he was reported to the authorities. Just one less transaction and Qisheng may have got away with one of the smartest bank heists in history!