Three ATM operators sentenced for defrauding companies of millions

SHARE Three ATM operators sentenced for defrauding companies of millions

Three South Side men paid to maintain hundreds of automated teller machines have been sentenced to prison after admitting they defrauded banks of more than $1.7 million.

Joseph Cabello, 41, of the Canaryville neighborhood; Thomas O’Malley, 42, of McKinley Park; and James Carlson, 46, of Beverly, were each charged with wire fraud for the seven-year scheme, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

The men owned and operated ATS Uptime, Inc., with offices in Chicago and Oswego, from about 1999 through 2013, prosecutors said. ATS serviced approximately 800 ATMs for roughly a dozen clients, and replenished cash, collected deposits and maintained the banking machines.

Between 2005 and 2012 the men stole millions and shuffled funds from client to client and ATM to ATM to cover their steps, according to previous Chicago Sun-Times reports. The trio then doctored balance sheets to evade detection.

All three men pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud after they were charged in September 2013, prosecutors said.

Carlson, the president of the company, was primarily responsible for the company’s vault, and for loading cash into and repairing ATMs, including some of which he owned personally. He was sentenced Monday to 20 months in prison, beginning Sept. 19, prosecutors said. He was also ordered to pay $658,572 in restitution.

Carlson voluntarily reported the scheme to the FBI in September 2013 and cooperated with the investigation, including recording conversations with Cabello and O’Malley, prosecutors said. Nonetheless, his request for probation was rejected.

“You cannot steal millions of dollars and not pay a substantial price,” U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman said during Carlson’s sentencing.

Cabello, who personally owned some of the ATMs serviced by ATS and ran the Oswego office, was sentenced in June to 51 months in prison, prosecutors said.

O’Malley served as chief financial officer, office manager, bookkeeper, and was sometimes responsible for the vault in Chicago, prosecutors said. He was sentenced in June to 33 months in prison.

Both Cabello and O’Malley were also ordered to pay $1,758,572 in restitution, prosecutors said.

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