The five-year jail sentence for the First Commercial Bank ATM heist is too lenient, the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office said yesterday, adding that it would file an appeal with the high court.
The three suspects, Latvian Andrejs Peregudovs, Romanian Mihail Colibaba and Moldovan Niklae Penkov, were convicted and each sentenced to five years in prison and fined NT$600,000 by the Taipei District Court on Jan. 25 for their roles in the “cybertheft” of NT$83.27 million (US$2.7 million at the current exchange rate) in July last year by an East European organized crime gang who installed malware on the ATMs.
Investigators found that Peregudovs, Colibaba and Penkov collected money from 12 of the 41 hacked ATMs.
Police arrested the three men on July 17, prior to their expected departure from Taiwan.
Taipei prosecutors said the suspects carried notebook computers to activate the malware on the ATMs so they would dispense money.
The men collected NT$83.27 million during the heist, which led to substantial losses for the bank, and caused serious damage and disruption to the nation’s financial system, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors in September last year requested 12-year jail terms for the men on 12 offenses relating to computer hacking and theft.
However, the Taipei District Court said the hack was done in a short time frame, and as such considered the actions one offense.
Taipei prosecutors disagreed with the court’s interpretation, saying: “The suspects hacked the ATMs 12 separate times. It should not be considered a ‘continuing offense,’ but as 12 separate offenses.”
“The men have no assets in Taiwan. Although the first ruling imposed a NT$600,000 fine and NT$77.48 million of the stolen money was recovered, it is impossible to obtain any payment from the men. Therefore we have decided to appeal to the high court,” the prosecutors said.
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