ATM Scam Draws 7-Year Prison Term

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Authorities were auctioning off a luxury home in Boca Raton, Fla., and several expensive cars last week to help finance a restitution order in one of the biggest bank thefts ever.

The items belonged to Daniel Antolini, who siphoned off more than $5 million from credit unions and banks that had hired his company, Executive Cash Services, of Hammonton, N.J., to replenish their ATMs.

"We're selling off his assets," said Norv McAndrew, assistant U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, who prosecuted the case, adding that authorities were taking possession last week of a Cadillac, a Lexus, expensive jewelry, furniture, and the Florida home valued at $2.5 million, to satisfy a $3 million forfeiture order.

Antolini was sentenced last week to 84 months in prison for convictions on bank and wire fraud charges and ordered to pay $2.6 million in restitution, as well as to forfeit $3 million in personal assets.

Prosecutors charged that Antolini took funds entrusted to him, including $100 million from CoreStates Bank (now part of Wachovia Bank) and commingled the money with his corporate and personal accounts, using the customers' funds to finance both company expenses and the purchase of luxury items for him and his family. After CoreStates began questioning the accounting for its funds it canceled its contract with Executive Cash, but the company was only able to repay about $95 million, according to McAndrew. In the end, CoreStates realized a loss of about $2.5 million on the account, one of the largest bank thefts ever.

The biggest credit union victim was Anne Arundel County Employees FCU, in Millersville, Md., which lost $365,000 through the scheme.

Antolini was linked to a subsequent ATM scheme that was even bigger when he sold his company to three men who changed the name to Tri-State Armored Services, which later looted as much as $30 million from ATM accounts it had with more than 3,000 institutions, including more than 60 credit unions. But McAndrew, who prosecuted both cases, said they could not definitively tie Antolini to the successor case. "I think they were independent. We haven't been able to connect the two," he said.

Throughout his trial, Antolini insisted he had no part in the fraud and said the funds he took were only loans and that the true fraud occurred after he sold the company in 1997.

More than a dozen individuals were convicted on criminal charges in the Tri-State Armored Services case and many credit unions are still seeking to recover their losses through a suit filed against the company's insurer.

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