An Orange County thief is facing a whopping maximum prison term of 180 years and a $6 million fine for operating a bank fraud scheme that took advantage of a major security glitch in ATMs at Bank of America.
Rami Waweru Hamide pleaded guilty in late May in hopes his pre-trial move reduces the punishment he receives from U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney.
In his 2015 scam, Hamide, a.k.a. Terrance Michael Woods, spied on ATM customers to see if they walked away without answering a question on the screen about whether they wanted to make another transaction or not.
For those customers who weren’t paying attention, the ATM question remained displayed for several seconds, time enough for a quick-acting Hamide to steal at least $10,600 on 22 occasions from unwitting persons’ bank account, according to the plea agreement that acknowledges the defendant guilty of six bank fraud counts.
Each charge carries a maximum term of 30 years in prison, but, as court observers know, the punishment is likely to be substantially less severe.
Hamide, who was born in 1993, struck in Costa Mesa, Claremont and Anaheim. But his favor target was apparently in Garden Grove. In a four-day period in October 2015, he managed to steal $1,340 from one bank.
A sentencing date could be selected on June 7 inside Orange County’s Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse.
If you’re thinking of pulling Hamide’s stunt. Forget it. Federal prosecutor Robert J. Keenan reported the “unique programming feature” of Bank of America ATMs has been corrected.
R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing Southern California law enforcement corruption.