Sunday 22 April 2018

Man used bank glitch to steal €2,800 from ATMs to pay for dad's operation

An Ulster Bank branch
An Ulster Bank branch

Andrew Phelan

A BANK customer repeatedly took out cash he did not have from ATMs when a technical glitch allowed people to make "unlimited withdrawals" for a day.

Andrey Karaman (46), who stole €2,800, was among hundreds of previously law-abiding citizens who gave in to temptation on the day of the IT failure at Ulster Bank.

The defendant, a doctor's assistant, stopped making the withdrawals when he had enough to pay for a vital operation for his father and sent the money home to Moldova.

Judge Michael Walsh gave him until December to repay the money to the bank.

Karaman, of Hyacinth Street, Dublin 3, pleaded guilty to eight counts of theft, four at ATMs at College Green and Talbot Street on June 22, 2012.

Det Gda Keith Byrne told Dublin District Court that the defendant used his ATM card to make withdrawals from his own account during the IT failure.

The bank had run software that "didn't take" and people were able to make unlimited withdrawals on their own accounts.

The situation went on for 24 hours until the system was shut down.


Karaman was one of the people who made such withdrawals, doing so in four "tranches" of €500 and another four of €200.

He had no previous convictions, and had not repaid the money to the bank when he appeared in court, said his barrister, Cathal O Braonain.

Det Gda Byrne agreed with Mr O Braonain that the offences happened within minutes of each other and it was an opportunistic crime.

"This wouldn't normally happen. The IT fault allowed this to happen on this particular day," Mr O Braonain said.

He added that Karaman had not been alone in "falling into temptation" and was among hundreds of people who made withdrawals.

The defendant, a father-of-two, came from a good family. His mother was a doctor and his father was CEO of a farmers' union.

The court heard that he had been under financial stress at the time as his father was very ill.

He needed surgery, and Karaman stopped withdrawing money when he felt he had enough to pay for it. He sent the money home.

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