Citibank Flaw Exploited in “60-Second Scheme” to Rip Off Casinos for a $1 Million

Monday, October 29, 2012


Fourteen Southern Californians have been accused by the FBI of taking advantage of a flaw in Citibank's online banking system to extract $1 million at cash kiosks in casinos before going on gambling splurges.

Thirteen of the suspects, from Glendale, North Hollywood, Burbank, Winnetka, Mission Hills, Huntington Beach and Pasadena, were arrested last week.

The scam, allegedly masterminded by Ara Keshishyan of Fillmore, required the co-conspirators to make simultaneous electronic withdrawals on the same bank accounts within 60 seconds, exploiting the bank's inability to instantaneously log the transactions. The accounts had been previously opened with “seed” money, according to the FBI.

Some of the participants in the scam then allegedly went on gambling sprees at the Morongo, Pechanga, San Manuel, Agua Caliente, Chukchansi, and Spa Resort casinos in California; the Tropicana, Wynn, Bicycle, and Whiskey Pete’s casinos in Las Vegas; and Harrah’s in Laughlin. The casinos often “comped” the conspirators with free rooms because of their extensive gambling activity.

Each of the defendants was charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and conspiracy to illegally structure financial transactions to avoid reporting requirements. The crimes are punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Keshishyan was also charged with 14 counts of bank fraud, each of which is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

-Ken Broder


To Learn More:

Fourteen Charged in Million-Dollar ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’ Bank Fraud (Federal Bureau of Investigation)

14 Held in Alleged Cash Advance Scheme (by Arin Mikailian, North Hollywood-Toluca Lake Patch)

14 Accused of Using Casino Kiosks to Run $1-Million Bank Scam (by Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times)

Leave a comment