The Banking Industry’s Dirtiest Secret is a Bloody One.

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Since the introduction of ATMs in the United States in the late 1960s, ATM-related crime has festered beneath the surface, buried by an aggressive banking industry determined to conceal from the public just how dangerous and deadly possessing an ATM card can be. At a minimum, there are between 500 and 1,000 ATM-related murders a year and tens of thousands of other violent crimes stemming from ATM cards such as carjackings, kidnappings, and home-invasions. This article is meant to explain the politics of the banking industry’s dirtiest secret and why everyone is pretending they don’t know what’s going on. Every major newspaper and TV station in the country has at least one banker on its board of directors, and people who offend board members find their careers cut short. There’s a paper trail leading to those responsible and the author can only show a small part of it. In Congress, the paper trail leads to Diane Feinstein and Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk. In Illinois, it leads Mayor Richard Daley, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, and Governor Pat Quinn; In California, to Governor Jerry Brown; in Florida to Rick Scott. To research it in your own state takes someone who knows how to do legislative research. By reviewing the history of state legislature banking committee hearings, you can piece together who did what. I hope that those of you who have been victims, or lost loved ones in these crimes will dig into what happened in your state. There are a lot of these people still in office who should not be. They traded campaign cash for human lives.

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Investigating Crime 101, the more information you have, the better

The entire ATM industry hinges on one thing: No one knows how many times a year people are murdered for their ATM cards and PINs. The best evidence is that there are 500 to 1,000 murders per year where the killer is known to have used the victim’s ATM card after the known time of death. The actual numbers may be several times larger than that though because of “hidden” murders. No criminal begins his crime by tipping his hat and politely inquiring, “Pardon me, have you an ATM card perchance and are there adequate funds for a withdrawal?” That means that some of the people who are attacked don’t even have ATM cards in the first place.

A Google News search for “ATM” and “murder” shows that every so often someone is murdered so that the killer can make a withdrawal or two with the victim’s ATM card. The crimes almost never start right at an ATM. They usually begin as carjacking or a home invasion. The victim is driven to an ATM and forced to make a withdrawal. If there’s enough money in the account, they’re killed, the body is hidden, and the killer keeps making withdrawals until the account is closed or cleaned out. Unless and until the body is found, the victim at best is listed as a missing person.

The problem with doing a Google News search to get this information is that it barely scratches the surface. It doesn’t provide access to actual police records. Even though it is an undercount, there are still four confirmed murders per week in the United States where this pattern is reported in the news. A murder case may get reported, but the police withhold the ATM connection many times because it is a crime-scene detail that could compromise the integrity of the case. If someone makes a confession, and he or she knows the details of the ATM transaction, then the police know that person was involved in the killing. 2

Police departments track crime patterns because it makes them more efficient. If investigators can connect Crime A to Crime B they can compare the evidence in both cases and that makes it more likely they will make an arrest before Crime C occurs. And since most of the murder cases found in the news are stranger-on-stranger crimes, that makes forced-withdrawal cases the most difficult to solve.

Since at least 1986, police have been recommending that forced-ATM withdrawals be tracked. i The most important tool in the crime analyst’s kit is the crime code section. Without a crime code section to identify a particular crime pattern, the crime does not exist. It gets lumped in with something else. This is why “bank robbery” is tracked by its own crime code section instead of just being lumped in with robbery. It enables the police to look for criminals who specialize in robbing banks; this in turn makes banks safer.

An Incentive to Kill

Forced-ATM withdrawals are unique in one very important way from any other form of robbery: It is the only crime where the criminal gets a greater financial reward by committing greater harm to his victim. A regular street robbery can be over before the victim even knows what happened. But at a minimum, a forced withdrawal always requires the victim be held hostage for at least as long as the transaction occurs, about 1.5 minutes. That’s a terrifying amount of time to have a gun at your head or knife at your throat. Being taken hostage is one level of harm. Being held until after midnight when the withdrawal amount recycles is another. And finally, execution gets the entire bank account. In essence, banks incent criminals to kill their customers.

This is an enormous motivating factor to the most aggressive criminals. Gary Michael Hilton, a drifter, was convicted in the murders of four people. They were Jack and Irene Bryant, an elderly couple in North Carolina; Meredith Emerson, a young woman in Georgia; and Cheryl Dunlap, a young woman in Florida. He’s also a person of interest in about 50 other unsolved homicides. It appears he was living for almost a decade off of his victims’ bank accounts. He lived in one campground after another up and down the East Coast and found his victims on the trails there.ii

Florida was also the hunting ground of the Town Center Mall Killer, (TCMK). TCMK came to light after the murders of Nancy Bochicchio and her 7-year-old daughter Joey. He targeted women in SUVs, with children in the Town Center Mall parking garage in Boca Raton. His MO was to carjack the women and children, bind and blindfold them with duct tape and then drive them to the ATM in their SUV. Because the pattern was not tracked, it was not identified and the public was not warned of the danger.iii The exact same pattern occurred in a double homicide in Georgia two years later. TCMK has not been identified five years later. TCMK is also the lead suspect in the murder of Randi Gorenberg. Like Nancy Bochicchio, she was abducted at the mall, but no ATM withdrawal was involved. Randi Gorenberg did not have an ATM card in the first place. The FBI speculated that TCMK was angered about her not having an ATM card. Only about 50 percent of the potential ATM card market has been achieved. That means that about half the time, the victim doesn’t even have an ATM card to begin with, but was attacked because of the way that the banks choose to do business. 3

Surprisingly, not all sociopaths in Illinois get elected governor or even seek a career in politics. Illinois’ most prolific living serial killer is Bruce Mendenhall, a cross-country trucker from a small town east of St. Louis called Albion. Also known as the “Prosti-Shooter,” the “Rest Stop Killer” and the “Truck Stop Killer,” he targeted women in truck stops and those he met on the road. His earliest suspected victim is Tammy Jo Zywicki in Iowa in 1992. He was eventually caught by the FBI’s Highway Serial Killer team in Tennessee. His last murder victim was Sarah Nicole Hulbert. Mendenhall was caught in possession of her ATM card and a receipt. When the cab of his truck was searched, investigators found a collection of women’s drivers’ licenses, ATM cards, sex toys and the blood of at least 10 different victims smeared around the cab. He has been charged with the murders of three other women at truck stops in Alabama, Indiana and Tennessee. He is still under investigation for murders in Georgia, Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. iv

Illinois is also the home of the “Honey Trap Killers.” Tameka Newson, Martha Jean and their boyfriends. The women would contact men through a telephone chat line and arrange a “party” at a local motel. When the men arrived, the women would get them undressed, just to be sure they weren’t armed, then the armed boyfriends would rush in, tie up the men and torture them to get their PINs. They would then execute the men and hide the bodies. They were finally caught when one of the men got loose, dove naked through a plate glass window and ran down the street. He had seen what happened to the other victim and fled for his life. The boyfriends followed. They were all spotted by an off-duty police officer who engaged the two men in a shoot-out in which they were both killed. Newson and Jean acknowledged that they had committed this crime before, but would not divulge how many times. v

In each of these states, the police were unaware of the connection between the crimes, because there was no crime code section for forced-ATM withdrawal. The question is, why isn’t there?

Politics, Banking and the Media 101: If no one finds out, it ain’t a crime

So why is there no dedicated crime statute for forced-ATM withdrawals? How could such an easy, obvious and free solution to such a bloody problem be overlooked by so many politicians and bankers for so many years? Especially when a similar solution was already being used to protect the banking industry? (The bank robbery statute, above.) It wasn’t overlooked at all. It was simply blocked in committee every time anyone proposed it. Police and crime victims told their legislators in all of the above states that something needed to be done. Florida Governor Rick Scott’s office was informed of the problem but has decided to withhold the data. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s office was also informed of the problem, but has also decided to withhold the data. The author also told the banking committees of every state and the banking committees in the U.S. House and Senate. They all looked the other way. Some went further though and actually deceived the public.vi More on that later.

So what’s really going on here? What is said publicly doesn’t jibe with the known facts, if everyone is motivated to protect the public. There have been criminal statutes formally proposed in Illinois and Kansas that would have solved the tracking problem.vii All were blocked in committee by the banking lobby. California did manage to pass Penal Code Section 212.5.b, which sort of addresses violent ATM crime. Unfortunately, Sec 212.5.b’s definition is not even 4

useful as it defines a robbery “at or near” an ATM as its guideline. How many feet is “at or near” is not given. This ambiguity in the law makes it useless as a crime tracking tool. It’s not even clear why it was passed at all unless the purpose was to fool the public into thinking something was being done when it actually wasn’t. One possible explanation: “How many murdered ATM customers are good for business if you’re the head of Chase Bank’s marketing department?”

The murder of Dana Feitler in 1989 in Chicago provides an excellent illustration of political sleight of hand.viii Ms. Feitler’s murder became a political cause and came before the Chicago City Council. The Council set up a committee to examine the problem and directed the police to do a study. The report indicated 47 “ATM Crimes” in Chicago in a single year, 1990. No body count was released though unless they meant that there were 47 murders that fit the Feitler pattern. The NYPD did a study that same year. It came up with 743 ATM crimes in the same time period, but again, no murders were given. After much foot dragging, the Chicago City Council passed what it called an “ATM crime reporting ordinance” Title 4, Chapter 4, Section 305.ix Subsection 60 (a) (ii) of the code states that the owner of a “remote service terminal” shall keep a record for each terminal of

Information on any criminal or threatening activity occurring at the remote terminal site, such information obtained either through actual knowledge or through police reports.

Subsection b of the code requires the terminal owner to provide copies of these records to the city clerk who keeps the records. The head of the committee who drafted the legislation was Ed Burke.

What was never explained to the public is that there is no penalty for failure to keep track of these crimes and report them; no one is assigned to enforce the statute in the first place; the city clerk’s office has no ability to share the data with the police department since the data being provided is not kept in an electronic format. (Weak as the statute is, there was still voluntary compliance on the part of some ATM owners. The data that were gathered by this method showed far higher numbers than that gathered by the Chicago PD.) So what was the purpose of the statute in the first place other than to fool the public into believing the city was taking care of it?

In 1996, the Illinois General Assembly passed the Automated Teller Machine Security Act.x The act supersedes all home rule ordinances on ATM safety and sets standards for lighting, landscaping and location – it also cut the complying banks a major gift by exempting them from being sued when harm does come to their ATM customers. However, the act did not mandate those standards be adopted on any ATM in the state. And, so long as any ATM owner is in “substantial compliance” with the standards, the owner has tort immunity, so there is no reason to ever try to improve customer safety. Prior to this, ATM owners were treated like everyone else who operated a business. Prior to the passage of the Automated Teller Machine Security Act, banks were under the same general obligation to make their premises reasonably safe against foreseeable injuries to their customers.

People don’t truly understand, in detail, how lobbying works in the banking industry. Let’s say that “Senator Strange Bedfellow” proposes a bill that is opposed by the banking industry. The good senator receives an invitation to dinner and things are explained to the senator thusly: 5

“Senator, you can push that bill if you want, but you will find yourself being challenged in your next primary by a very well funded opponent, you’ll also face a well funded challenger in the general election. While your constituents may not want to switch parties in the general election, they could easily decide to elect someone else in your primary. Further, we’ll do the exact same thing to your ten closest allies in the legislature and we will make sure they know you are the reason we are doing it. You can either play ball with us, or there won’t be any reason for you to bother remaining in office anyway. You may now signify you understand this by paying for my dinner.” xi

Crime Deterrence 101: Are you better off with it or without it?

Emergency PINs have been used for a long time. They are used in home alarm systems, government buildings, and commercial settings of all sorts and in the military. Even the guy who loads cash into the ATM has an emergency PIN system to call for help. Are you better off with a chance to call for help or, as is the case now, no chance whatsoever to call for help? To be worse off, there would have to be more people murdered because of the presence of the system than are saved by it. It’s certainly true that if your PIN is ABCD and your emergency PIN is EFGH, then you might forget your emergency PIN years later when it is needed. But, if a person has a way to remember something, even years later, the odds of them using it when needed radically improve.

Anyone who took 5th grade music should remember “Every Good Boy Deserves Favor.” It’s a mnemonic for the five major chords, E, G, B, D and F. Every 4th grade art student should remember “Roy G. Biv” the seven primary colors, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet. Since most of these crimes begin as carjackings or home invasions, the criminal has to drive to the ATM. A lot of time passes between the shock of the initial assault and the point when the victim has to give up the PIN. This gives victims the time to get their wits about them. The criminal cannot kill the victim before the cash comes out of the ATM without losing the cash. And once the cash has come out of the ATM, no matter what threats were made, the police might be on their way. This makes it a “grab the money and run” situation instead of a murder. Even if one victim does not use the system when needed, another will, and eventually, the criminal who continues this crime pattern will be caught. That saves future victims.

There are a lot of false and unfair claims being made about the reverse emergency PIN system and why it hasn’t been adopted. Here’s a list of them and their sources that illustrate how subtle and not so subtle they can be:

1) The Illinois Office of Banks and Real Estatexii did an official report on the reverse PIN system. It claims that the reverse emergency PIN system would be expensive. In the section titled “Computer Interface Barriers” it says: “The physical reconfigurations needed to make changes to machines have been estimated at $1,500 each.“ xiii This was a totally bogus claim because adding the reverse emergency PIN system is actually a pure software upgrade. This is why there is no mention of what the “physical reconfigurations” are. Industries regularly complain about high cost for safety improvements of any kind when government mandates safety changes. Unlike other states, Illinois does not make it a felony or even a misdemeanor for a government official

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to lie in an official report. This was done without my input and since I am the inventor that seems unfair. Two other government sources, the Federal Trade Commission and the Georgia Senate, both describe the reverse emergency PIN system as pure software.xiv Diebold, according to the FTC report, says that the system is a software upgrade installed on the Host Security Module. That software is on a computer that runs thousands of other ATMs, not part of an ATM.

2) Unlike Illinois, the U.S. government does make it a felony to lie in an official report. The FTC report (which was supposed to be written with the assistance of the Secret Service and the US Attorney General’s Office) cites the Illinois numbers as to cost, but does not claim they are valid. That way, responsibility for that claim remains with Illinois. This does not prevent the FTC report from expressing negative and unjustified opinions. The report makes much of long response time being a drawback, but does not mention that the average response time to a crime in progress is four minutes. The average ATM transaction takes 1.5 minutes. That leaves the criminal 2.5 minutes, on average, to get as far from the victim as he can. Further, since the entire patrol area would be alerted to a call of this nature, even if he gets away from the ATM before the police arrive, he still has to get past any other police patrols he passes. This is the kind of thing that the Attorney General’s office should have raised in the report. Section 508 of the Credit Card Act directs the FTC to give an estimate as to cost of installing the reverse emergency PIN system, but none is given. The FTC simply ignored the law.

3) A Forbes Magazine article from 2004 claims that “…Zingher may soon find himself wrestling with the Big Blue [IBM], rather than counting greenbacks.” xv In the original version of this article, Forbes had a link to IBM’s U.S. patent 6,679,422. When it was pointed out that the patent was only for a secondary cash box to be filled with marked bills, they changed the link to IBM’s homepage. They’ve now removed even that link. They’ve never corrected the claims made in this article.

4) Snopes.com xvi , a web site that claims to debunk urban myths, has faithfully reported every negative claim made about the reverse emergency PIN system, but never interviewed me, the inventor of the system, though given the opportunity and does not cite any claims made about the possible benefits. Their position, like the banks’, seems to be “We don’t know how many could or couldn’t use the system when needed therefore no one should have it.”

Bad things keep happening to legislators who propose tracking ATM connected crimes or adopting emergency PINs for ATM users.

In 1987, U.S. Rep. Mario Biaggi, (D-Brooklyn), an honoree in the Policeman’s Hall of Fame, proposed House Resolution785, which would have required the FBI to evaluate alternative emergency PIN systems for ATM users and have them keep track of forced withdrawals. The bill was up before the House Urban Affairs, Judiciary and Banking committees. It died in committee without ever being called for hearings. This is surprising since Biaggi was in the majority party at the time. It was routed off to an ad hoc committee on constitutional rights, though what constitutional rights would be involved with tracking crime patterns and studying emergency 7

PIN systems is hard to explain. Six months later, Biaggi was indicted on a RICO charge in the Wedtech Scandal and lost his primary. The Wedtech Scandal was a fraud committed upon the Small Business Administration by Jon Neuberger, who owned a majority of the Wedtech stock. The contracts Wedtech received were intended for minority-owned businesses. Neuberger was not a member of any minority. xvii Biaggi was convicted on the strength of just one witness against him, Anthony Guariglia, the CEO of Wedtech, who was himself under indictment. Guariglia was later convicted of perjury for his testimony in the Wedtech case.xviii Biaggi still maintains his innocence.

Illinois State Representative Connie Howard proposed HB 1963 in 2009 and a similar bill, HB3914, in 2011. If enacted, these laws would have made forced-ATM withdrawals a distinct felony and the state would have automatically started tracking the problem. Within six months of proposing HB1963, the U.S. Attorney’s Office began an investigation of her and her AIDS awareness program, “Let’s Talk, Let’s Test.” Within six months of proposing HB3914, she was under subpoena for her use of educational grant money.xix

Phil Journey, the proponent of the Kansas crime statute SB438, found himself facing a well-funded challenger in his primary and was out in the next election.

Following the murder of Lily Burk, Greig Smith of the Los Angeles City Council and an LA Reserve Policeman, proposed making an emergency PIN system mandatory on all ATMs in the city, an act that the city had the right to do under its home rule powers. Smith was then challenged and replaced in his next primary by another Republican who won the seat. (True, this wouldn’t have tracked the problem, but it would have drawn public attention to the overall question. xx)

Law School 101: You can always buy your way out

All of the above makes no sense if one accepts the banking industry’s claim that it wants to protect its customers – which most corporations really want to do. In first year law school, professors warn you about the one time when this isn’t true – when the business has integrated the cost of litigation as part of its overhead.xxi ATM owners get sued all the time. Attorneys even advertise it.xxii This is because the ATM is a business premise, like a grocery store. The banks control location, hours of operation, method of operation and they make very large profits from them. Because of this, they are obliged to make their place of business as safe as reasonably possible.xxiii The problem is that the business model encourages violent crime, not just against the ATM customer, but against the general public as well. Even people who are not willing to carry ATM cards end up being attacked in the mere hope that they have one, such as Lily Burk.

This is a good place for a law school hypothetical the “Empty Building Problem” used to illustrate intentional – malicious harm on the part of a property owner. xxiv It goes like this. Say there’s an empty building with no lock on the door, no lights and no fence around it. One day, a woman’s body is found in the building. The police investigate and conclude she had been abducted off the street, taken to the building, robbed, raped and murdered. They advise the owner to put a lock on the door and to put up some lights and a fence. He ignores their advice. The first time it happens is the first time it happened, so it was a surprise to everyone and the 8

owner is blameless. But then it happens again. And again. And it keeps happening. Eventually, not only is the owner sued, the building is condemned and the owner ends up being indicted. When the Empty Building problem occurs in real life, it stops quickly because the police track the murders that have happened there, so the owner or the police will take steps to fix the problem. But, with the ATM, no one has been keeping track. Each time it happens is the first time it ever happened as far as police records go.

Data mining 101: Dawn of the Dead

“Data mining” was unheard of at the time the ATM was introduced, but great strides have been made in the last 30 years to digitize police records. The computerization of police records has opened the door to two methods of data mining. It is now possible to go back through files and find these cases. The easiest method is a meta-search. By searching the files for “ATM” and then overlaying the crime codes for murder, abduction, rape, carjacking, home invasion and missing persons-involuntary, the crime analyst can capture data going back as far as the records allow. One such search by the Rockford Illinois Police Department showed three murders out of 102 covering a five-year period, where the suspect was known to have used the victim’s ATM card.xxv That extrapolates to at least 22 murders per year in Illinois and 500 per year nationwide. That number could be much higher though.xxvi Assuming that the Rockford data is normal for the country as a whole, then, the lowest possible number for the national U.S. murder rate would be 500 victims per year. xxviiMeasured from Sept 11th, 2001, that would be 6,000 murders. America went to war over 3,000 murders, but for some reason, doesn’t even bother to count these murders. Rockford is not the only place such data are available though.

The second method is geographic coding. Geographic coding is nothing more than taking an address or list of addresses and overlaying crime codes against it to see what crimes occurred and where. What has held that back is that most crime analysts simply don’t realize how easy it is to get a master list of ATM addresses in the state or the entire country for that matter. The entire ATM industry is essentially one vast undertaking by thousands of partners; banks, ATM owners and ATM data processing companies. Mere possession of that list gives the analyst all crimes connected to ATMs, at no cost. Getting that list is as easy as asking for it from any victim’s bank. The entire ATM industry must share all ATM locations with all partners in order to approve any ATM transaction.

Conclusion

Don’t expect to see any action being taken by Congress or any of the states. If there were a comprehensive study done of any major state, the data would lead to more and more questions being asked about why it went undisclosed for so long. The mindset of the politician is to just hold tight and let it blow over as it has in the past. If the families of these victims understood what had been going on, they would certainly blame their elected officials for letting their loved ones be murdered and helping the banks hide the body count. What these victims don’t realize is that they are not alone. Tens of thousands of others have been abused just as they were. In a very real sense, the exposure of the data amounts to “Dawn of the Dead” for the ATM industry, with all the victims coming up out of the ground and all of them pointing an accusing finger at 9

individual politicians who are still in office. The data in this article are the best data now publicly available only because of politics.

In Memoriam

Nancy Bochicchio and daughter Joey, age 7 Dec 2007 http://www.nbcnews.com/id/23759073/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/t/police-hunt-boca-raton-killer-moms-child/

Kevin Thompson, in April 2011Anniston Star – Defense lawyer worried about trial date for man charged with murder

Joshua Deas and Kenneth Simmons March 2013 http://www.abcactionnews.com/dpp/news/region_east_hillsborough/seffner/arrest-made-in-seffner-double-murder

James Brotherton Nov 2011 http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20111129/ARTICLE/111129550

Carol & Reggie Sumner 2005 http://staugustine.com/stories/050407/news_4575213.shtml

Michael Sawyer (perpetrators were Duffield and Turner) June 1999 http://qphox4.com/mike/txtfilee.html

Ethalya Faye Jones March 2013 http://www.cfnews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2013/3/19/cocoa_murder_surrend.html

Robert L Dockens (Oct. 26, 2012) – http://www.wcjb.com/local-news/2012/10/murder-suspect-arrested-victim-identified

Joseph Morrissey April 2010 http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/Dateline-NBC-Reports-on-Local-Case-of-Joe-Morrissey-the-Nova-Southeastern-University-Professor-Murdered-in-Plantation-202378571.html

Janet Acosta May 2000 http://jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/050200/met_2959628.html

Salvador Machado December 2007 http://www.wsvn.com/news/articles/local/MI71828/

Cheryl Dunlap Dec 2007 http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=4010778&page=1

Diane Miller 2006 http://www.ocala.com/article/20080120/NEWS/801200341

Linda Volum 2005 http://www.floridacapitalcases.state.fl.us/case_updates/Htm/J29603.htm

Lorraine Pezza 1991 http://www.floridacapitalcases.state.fl.us/case_updates/Htm/941687.htm

Michele O’Dowd Dec 2011 http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/Murdered-Florida-Womans-Body-Found-Under-Christmas-Gifts-135096168.html

Jason Erichowsky and Janice Bianchi 2009 http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2011/oct/30/man-accused-of-killing-burying-couple-in-san-to/?print=1

Elizabeth Kenna, 24, and her unborn child 2006 http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2006-05-18/news/0605171493_1_seat-belt-atm-card-body

Dr. William Norman July 2012 http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2012-07-12/news/fl-william-norman-mourning-20120712_1_andarly-desir-murder-victim-davie-canal

Police Officer Al Gordon June 2009 http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_homicide/2009/07/accused-copkiller-found-guilty-of-firstdegree-murder.html

Randi Gorenberg Mar 2007 http://www.nbcnews.com/id/24920708/ns/dateline_nbc-crime_reports/t/terror-mall/

Traci Burchette 2001 http://www.floridacapitalcases.state.fl.us/case_updates/htm/121605.htm 10

i Congressional Record of July 30, 1986, pp 18232, Statement of U.S. Rep. Mario Biaggi; New York City and Chicago both issued reports in 1990 in response to high profile murder cases. (not online) Other reports have been done by Georgia, http://www.senate.ga.gov/sro/Documents/StudyCommRpts/06AtmSafetyRpt.pdf and Illinois http://www.obre.state.il.us/agency/news/atmrpt.htm all recommending that forced withdrawals be tracked. The one exception to this was a report done by the Federal Trade Commission, which was supposed to be getting the assistance of the Attorney General and the U.S. Secret Service. The study was done pursuant to “THE CREDIT CARD ACCOUNTABILITY RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLOSURE ACT OF 2009 REPORT ON EMERGENCY TECHNOLOGY FOR USE WITH ATMs” http://ftc.gov/os/2010/05/100504creditcardreport.pdf Section 508 of the act directs the Federal Trade Commission to do the report, “in consultation with” the Attorney General and the U.S. Secret Service, http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/111/hr627/text. In spite of all the assets available to the Attorney General, the report asserts that the data are “unavailable” yet makes no recommendation that it be tracked. Contrary to the directions of the act, it does not analyze the cost of installing an emergency PIN system. Instead it does a summary of trade journal articles. It is difficult to see how the Attorney General’s Office could miss that. http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2010/05/07/ftc-atm-emergency-pin-study-takes-year-says-little/

ii http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/gary-michael-hilton-gets-4-life-sentences/nXYP8/

iii http://www.nbcnews.com/id/24920708/

iv http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Mendenhall

Elizabeth Uptagrafft Jan 2007 http://www.wftv.com/news/news/police-chief-calls-daytona-beach-murder-suspects-s/nJp5Z/

Lori McRae 1995 http://www.floridacapitalcases.state.fl.us/inmate-details.cfm?id=236

Leonard & Esther Wayne 1986 http://www.floridacapitalcases.state.fl.us/case_updates/Htm/021641.htm

Randy Kidd 1991 http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1991-08-16/news/9101310312_1_death-penalty-anthony-davis-davis-didn-t

Johnny Lester Cole 2010 http://jacksonville.com/news/crime/2010-11-01/story/jacksonville-police-arrest-14-year-old-slaying-separate-homicide-arrest

Willie James Davis 2005 http://jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/062805/met_19106975.shtml

Liz Reed, Glenn Pafford & Courtney Smith 2005 http://jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/092705/met_19879016.shtml

Virginia Harritt 2011 http://www.news4jax.com/news/Police-Woman-Possibly-Witnessed-Slaying/-/475880/2100790/-/a3kdx/-/index.html

Blake and Mary Jo Hadley Aug 2011 http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2012/jun/29/newly-released-evidence-hadley-planned-a-second/

Josiah Saintil, 2012 (2 months old, mother escaped) http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2012-06-02/news/fl-baby-josiah-folo-20120602_1_car-seat-josiah-friend

Chung Kim Nov 2011 http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2011/dec/14/grand-jury-indicts-vero-beach-man-in-stabbing-of/

Vincent Binder Feb 2013 http://www.wctv.tv/news/headlines/93422719.html

Peggy Mehrman 2009 http://www.theledger.com/article/20090925/news/909259962

Dontavious James Griffin, 2008 http://www.theledger.com/article/20120118/news/120119301

Ana Maria Angel 2002 http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2012-09-21/news/fl-ana-maria-angel-trial-restarts-20120921_1_circuit-judge-william-thomas-victor-caraballo-cesar-mena

Irene Kertesz 2011 http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/Son-Accused-of-Killing-Mom-Just-Snapped-Report-127534243.html

Goldie Robinson July 2011 http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2010-09-07/news/os-goldie-robinson-autopsy-20100907_1_underbrush-and-palmettos-murder-case-hinges-suspicious-death 11

v http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2005-03-28/news/0503280256_1_kidnappers-off-duty-kidnapping-plot

vi http://ftc.gov/os/2010/05/100504creditcardreport.pdf and http://www.obre.state.il.us/agency/news/atmrpt.htm

vii http://www.kansas.gov/government/legislative/bills/2004/438.pdf and http://ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=3914&GAID=11&DocTypeID=HB&LegId=62721&SessionID=84&GA=97 and http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=4155&GAID=8&DocTypeID=HB&LegId=22077&SessionID=50&GA=94 and http://ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=09600HB1963ham001&GA=96&SessionId=76&DocTypeId=HB&LegID=43869&DocNum=1963&GAID=10&Session=

viii http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1989-10-29/news/8901260525_1_lee-harris-police-charges

ixhttp://www.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll/Illinois/chicago_il/municipalcodeofchicago?f=templates$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:chicago_il

x http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=1209&ChapterID=20

xi To understand how concentrated and far reaching the power of the banking industry is, you have to have context. There are roughly 6,000 FDIC insured institutions in the United States. http://seekingalpha.com/article/271658-number-of-u-s-banks-drop-by-77-in-first-quarter

This is a list of the top 25 largest banks in the United States. http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0763206.html The top four banks in the United States each has between $2.3 trillion and $1.4 trillion in assets. The 25th largest bank on that list has $98 billion. To put that in perspective, if the American banking industry were an aquarium, it would be four blue whales, 21 dolphins and 5,975 gold fish. After the Carr Brothers series in Wichita, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wichita_Massacre I visited banks in Wichita and spoke to them about using the reverse emergency PIN system to deter such crimes in the future. It was explained to me, in the most sympathetic terms, that the banking industry is run from the top down and is better regimented than the U.S. Army could hope to be. No one can afford to offend the top banks in the industry. Any bank that adopts the system without the approval of the top banks will be excommunicated from the ATM network. Their service providers will not cooperate and even if they go in-house with their data processing, the rest of the ATM industry will cut them off. They don’t even have to explain it. All ATM contracts have a 30-day notice of withdrawal clause. This allows the bank or the ATM processor to end its contracts just by giving notice. If pressured to explain, no law requires them to explain truthfully. They can just say “We found their account security procedures inadequate” and that’s it. (The same holds true when customers ask at their local bank about getting the reverse PIN service. Some have been claiming it’s impossible to make it work. As deceptive as the FTC report was, even it acknowledged that it’s just a software change on the Host Security Module.) In short, the renegade bank’s ATM cards will be useless and no bank can survive without an ATM card for its customers. ALL of this power is concentrated in the hands of the board of directors of each the top four banks. This is why there have been so many catastrophes in the banking industry over the last 20 years. Everyone is marching to the same tune and when one slips, they all do. “It’s da Chicago Way!”

xii Now the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

xiii http://www.popcenter.org/problems/robbery_atms/PDFs/OBRE.htm The original has been taken offline by the State of Illinois after complaints about its accuracy. http://www.obre.state.il.us/agency/news/atmrpt.htm.

xiv http://ftc.gov/os/2010/05/100504creditcardreport.pdf and http://www.senate.ga.gov/sro/Documents/StudyCommRpts/06AtmSafetyRpt.pdf

xv http://www.forbes.com/2004/01/28/cz_tk_0128pin.html

xvi http://www.snopes.com/business/bank/pinalert.asp

xvii http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedtech 12

xviii http://www.nytimes.com/1991/06/01/nyregion/court-overturns-convictions-of-3-in-wedtech-case.html

xix http://chicagoist.com/2012/07/25/state_rep_connie_howard_resigns_ami.php and http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-07-24/news/ct-met-state-lawmaker-grants-20120725_1_state-grants-grant-payments-million-grant

xx http://articles.latimes.com/2009/sep/02/local/me-lily-burk2

xxi http://www.atmmarketplace.com/article/138090/Consultants-Call-for-Increased-ATM-Security-Measures

What gives it away as a business integration issue is the complete lack of any appellate court opinions in any state concerning the bank’s responsibility for injuries in forced-withdrawal cases. ATMs have now been around for over 45 years. The only way this could happen is if the banks follow standard business procedure and settle the case before an appeals court issues an opinion that would expose the issue to personal injury attorneys. Banks always include a confidentiality agreement so that if the victims or the victims’ families ever talk about the case again, they have to give back the money. In essence, after grinding down the family through years of litigation at the trial stage, they finally make a reasonable offer to settle a wrongful death case. But, the plaintiff’s attorney does not recognize that this is the bank’s weakest point also. For 45 years, every case that made it through the trial court phase has been settled because it had to be settled. Even a ruling in favor of the bank would be so riddled with error that it would be more of an embarrassment than a victory.

xxiii http://www.isenberg-hewitt.com/Attorneys/Melvin-L-Hewitt-Jr.shtml ; http://www.victimaid.com/lawyer-attorney-1855779.html ; http://www.hannonboyers.com/lawyer-attorney-1873269.html

xxiv http://tortssymposium.law.wfu.edu/papers/owen.pdf

xxv Natasha Cleary and her two children. Five years is considered the “gold standard” for academic studies of crime. http://www.rrstar.com/news/x132152482/Rockford-police-Someone-used-shooting-victim-s-debit-card#axzz2V4n4NtMJ

xxvii The actual Rockford number could have been twice that though as there were eight total cases that involved ATMs and only four were closed out. The remaining four cases were still open and therefore not subject to a Freedom of Information Act request. This method would also not find cases where the killer’s intention was to force an ATM withdrawal, but no withdrawal occurred either because there was no cash in the account or the victim did not carry an ATM card in the first place. Only about 50 percent of the potential ATM card market has been achieved nationwide, so that means that about half the time when an attempt is made, the victim didn’t even have a card. That doesn’t mean the victim won’t be killed though.

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16 Responses to The Banking Industry’s Dirtiest Secret is a Bloody One.

  1. Mark says:

    In my oppinion the best (but expensive) way to deal with this once and for all:
    1. have the ATM in a room (armored glass box) where only 1 person can enter. If more than one person is in the room the ATM does not work, also if door is open ATM does not work.
    2. in addtion to the PIN use biometrics to make sure the owner of the card is in the room.
    3. have an emergency button. Victim will be safe in the room until police arrives.

    This does not require the victim to remember the emrgency pin. Unclear if PIN will help at all, because both will be gone before police arrives. The criminal will probably know that victim used emergency pin and will kill victim sooner (or hostage situation).

    Another big problem with the emergency PIN is that people will confuse it with the real PIN all the time, trigering false alarms that police will not be able to deal with.

    I totally agree, though, that there needs to be a category for these crimes.

    Like

    • atmsafetypin says:

      If you seriously want to answer the question about the reversePIN, an expert in “Human Factors” is the person to talk to. Human factors is a subspecialty of applied psychology that deals with the behavior of people under extreme stress. The ones I’ve talked to all recognize the idea as having no drawbacks. And it’s easy to understand why. If you have a panicky or forgetful customer and the criminal kills him or her before the cash comes out of the ATM, then the criminal doesn’t get any cash. And the criminal knows this. Once the cash has come out of the ATM, then the police MIGHT be on the way. It almost doesn’t matter whether the victim uses the emergency PIN or not. The point is to make the bad guy grab the money and run. As to police arriving in time, well, maybe they won’t. But if they are never notified at all, then there’s damn near no chance of the criminal being caught. The point is to alert the entire patrol area and adjoining patrol areas to be on the lookout for the victim and the victim’s car. True, they might be gone before the police arrive, but they might not. If the criminal continues the practice in spite of the presence of the system, then eventually, the police get there in time to save the victim and arrest the bad guy. True, victims 1, 2 and 3 still get killed, but an arrest on victim 4 saves the lives of 4, 5, 6 etc.

      Like

    • atmsafetypin says:

      p.s. To trigger a false alarm would require the victim to accidentally hit all four digits in precisely the wrong order. Merely transposing two digits is not enough.

      Like

      • Mark says:

        I agree that the emergency PIN could be a good first step. If you offer them the complete solution (my first expensive idea with the 1 person box), they will hopefully choose the less expensive emergency pin option more quickly :-).

        The false alarm is a big problem though. If I have to remember 2 PINs over years, then I may accidentally type in the wrong one (e.g. when I return from a few weeks of vacation, I don’t really remember my PIN that well, maybe the wrong one comes to mind first).

        Also it would be great if the emergency PIN was easy to remember (because nobody can memorize a number that he/she never uses for years). For example the emergency could be the last digit increased by one (and if it was 9 it swaps to 0) so if your PIN is
        3456 the emergency is 3457. Or to avoid typos it could be increase on all 4 digits: 4567. That way I only need to remember the PIN and how to get the emergency from it without doing complicated math.

        Anyway, thanks for your article. Are there any states where a special category/code exists for ATM related crimes (not just close to ATM, but forced withdrawal?)? Also are crimes placed into multiple categories? I think usually a criminal after committing a crime is on the run and needs money and a car quickly so the hijack a car and make the owner get money for them. Then they keep him as hostage or just try to get away. Also how about identity theft, that is also often ATM related.

        Like

  2. Mark says:

    … actually if increase on all digits is the emergency pin, then the decreasing all digits also needs to be a pin, otherwise the criminal could simply ask for the PIN, then first enter the decreased digit number, if he gets money, he knows the real pin and knows the victim tried to trick him (and if he did not get money, he can enter the real pin). Having two emergency pins one above and one below the real would fix this, e.g. real 2945 and emergency both 1834 and 3056 (I increased and decreased all digits and wrapped the 9 to 0). There could be other schemes that would be relatively safe with only a single emergency pin (e.g. forward real, backward emergency).

    Like

    • atmsafetypin says:

      Actually, all of those suggestions would generate more false alarms. ReversePIN would require the user to hit all four digits in the exact wrong order. Merely transposing two digits would not be enough. If you have trouble remembering your regular PIN backwards, you can change it to something easy. And no, though several states have tried, none have a specific crime statute for forced withdrawals. If any state did pass such a law, say Mississippi, you’d see incumbent politicians in Illinois and California fleeing the country. Exposure in any state would amount to exposure everywhere.

      Like

      • Mark says:

        I am convinced that an emergence PIN (e.g. reverse) is a great idea. I don’t believe the conspiration theories. I think that there may be some resistance but not that someone will have to step down if this gets implemented. I’ll try to make the idea of an emergency pin more public.

        Like

      • atmsafetypin says:

        Not a conspiracy, just a business model that got out of control.

        Like

  3. Westy says:

    Let me guess, you have a patent on reverse pin and the banks will not pay you to use it.
    This article sounds like sour grapes.

    Like

    • atmsafetypin says:

      What does the body count sound like to you? And what do ATM fees sound like to you? If you can ignore those two things, then fine. Trying to make me sound like it’s all greed on my part doesn’t sell under the circumstances.

      Like

    • atmsafetypin says:

      Do you understand that what Forbes, the Illinois Office of Banks and Real Estate, the Federal Trade Commission, and a slew of politicians from Richard M. Daley, Dianne Feinstein, Dick Durbin, and the ENTIRE Democrat Party en masse and government officials from US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, US Circuit Court Judge Frank Easterbrook, Former US District Court Judge Jeanne Scott Governmor Pat Quinn, Attorney General Lisa Madigan and a bunch of others have done is tantamount to pulling the trigger on Nancy Bochicchio, her 7 year old daughter Joey, Natasha Cleary and her two sons, etc etc themselves? Each one has rationalized their behavior as “Not my legal responsibility” when it clearly is. IF you disagree, that is your privilege. But the paper trail leads back to them all and it proves one thing: THEY KNEW ALL ALONG AND KEPT THEIR MOUTHS SHUT AND THEIR HANDS OPEN.

      Like

  4. Jackie Oosthuizen says:

    I wonder ….. you ever read David Ickes book called “and the truth shall set you free”. I really mean HAVE YOU PERSONALLY READ IT. If you have, then you would know why nobody does anything, America, Europe or Africa.

    Like

    • atmsafetypin says:

      No, I haven’t but I’ll certainly look into it. As a lawyer myself, I understand the mechanics of how they pulled it off though. They’ve “integrated these crimes into the business model” which means that when they get sued, they first grind the family down in years of litigation, and then they make an offer only at the last second to prevent an appellate court record from being created. Other plaintiff’s lawyers would use that appellate court opinion as a guiding light to set off a storm of litigation that would make the banks fix the problem. As things stand now, there’s nothing in the court reports that tells the attorney how the courts view the situation, so they don’t waste time on it.

      Like

  5. phil says:

    That was a very depressing story. I hope something can be done. Greed is a terrible thing

    Like

  6. Pingback: To the people of Rockford. | ATM CRIME

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