Gardaí arrested in criminal probe into ‘tricking’ of bank ATMs

Suspects accused of defrauding four-figure sum by claiming cash not dispensed


Gardaí investigating a suspected bank ATM fraud have arrested two members of the force for questioning.

The gardaí being detained are both uniformed members based at the same station in west Dublin and both have less than 10 years service in the force.

They are being questioned about fraud allegedly conducted at bank ATMs in the Dublin area in which a four figure total amount is believed to have been defraud.

The men are accused of withdrawing sums of money from their own accounts using their own cards at ATMs and then trying to trick the ATM into believing the money was not dispensed.

Gardaí are examining if the men took some of the notes dispensed while leaving other notes to be swallowed by machines’ automatic safety mechanisms.

People involved in this fraud before have carried it out in the belief that an ATM can only determine that some notes have been left in the dispenser and swallowed after being left for a set period, but cannot tell how many notes have been swallowed.

“In the past people have had withdrawn, say, €300 and put some of it in their pockets but left the other portion in the dispenser to be swallowed by the ATM again,” said one Garda source.

“They then go to the bank and claim they were too slow in taking the money and it was swallowed or that they accidentally walked off forgetting to take the money, so it was swallowed.”

In such cases the banks have refunded the account holders with a sum equal to the entire withdrawal recorded, even though some of that withdrawal was taken and retained at the ATM.

The two serving gardai were flagged as being linked to suspect withdrawals when a pattern emerged on the AIB’s internal security systems over many months since last year.

There is also a third suspect in the case who is not a Garda member.

Garda Headquarters, Phoenix Park, Dublin, has confirmed two men were arrested this morning during a probe into suspected fraudulent activity in the Dublin area.

They are both being questioned at Leixlip Garda station under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.

The men have both been suspended from duty by Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan pending the outcome of the criminal probe by the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the force’s serious crimes squad.

That investigation is a full scale criminal inquiry being conducted by the Garda rather than Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission.

The ombudsman investigates complaints from members of the public relating to gardai and can also commence its own investigations into suspected Garda corruption.

However, gardaí suspected of crimes can still be investigated by the Garda.