comscore Thefts lead to ATM change | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Hawaii News

Thefts lead to ATM change

  • BRUCE ASATO / BASATO@STARADVERTISER.COM
    James F. Solomon Jr. laid his head on the table Monday after hearing his sentence announced by Circuit Judge Ed Kubo for using ATM cards mistakenly left in the bank machines at Ala Moana Center to make unauthorized withdrawals. Solomon stood with his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Tyrus Buyama.
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Bank of Hawaii has made adjustments to its automated teller machines to prevent unauthorized withdrawals from the accounts of customers who forget their ATM cards in the machines.

The changes affect people who do more than one transaction per ATM visit.

"The customers will now need to re-enter their PINs to do multiple transactions," said Stafford Kiguchi, Bank of Hawaii spokesman.

Customers will need to enter their personal identification numbers for each transaction even though their cards remain in the machines, he said.

ATM SAFETY

» Use ATMs in well-lit areas.

» Be aware of people around you. If you feel uncomfortable, walk away.

» Don’t let anyone watch you enter your PIN.

» Count your cash in your car or another private place, not at the ATM.

» Be sure to retrieve your ATM card from the machine. Contact your bank immediately if your card gets jammed in the machine.

» Call 911 if you feel that you are in danger.

Source: Honolulu Police Department

 

The move comes after a 53-year-old man admitted he was able to withdraw $6,100 from the accounts of nine people who walked away from Bank of Hawaii ATMs with their cards still in the machines.

Prosecutors said James F. Solomon Jr. hung out near the ATMs outside Sears at Ala Moana Center. When he saw someone leave an ATM without retrieving the card, he would swoop in for additional transactions and withdraw as much money as possible.

Three other financial institutions have ATMs outside Sears, but Bank of Hawaii was the only one affected.

A state judge sentenced Solomon on Monday to five years’ probation and ordered him to serve one of those years in jail.

Circuit Judge Edward Kubo also ordered Solomon to perform 1,000 hours of community service during each of the four years of probation he will serve after leaving jail; pay a $4,175 penalty to the state crime victim compensation special fund; and repay the money he stole.

Kiguchi said Bank of Hawaii reimbursed the customers victimized by Solomon and apologizes for the inconvenience the thefts caused. He said the bank also reminds customers to remove their cards from ATMs and to protect their PINs.

Kubo said he ordered Solomon to perform the 4,000 hours of community service because Solomon does not have much of a work history; he last held a job in 2007.

"It’s funny to this court in an ironic way that he is unable to be gainfully employed, yet he can stalk victims at ATMs for periods of time," Kubo said.

Solomon can satisfy his community service requirement with full-time employment.

He committed the thefts from September 2009 to February. An Oahu grand jury charged him with multiple counts of theft, identity theft, credit card theft and credit card fraud in August. He pleaded guilty in October.

Prosecutors said it took a while to bring charges against Solomon because even though the ATM camera captured his image, police did not know who he was. Authorities were able to identify him because Ala Moana Center security cameras captured images of him with someone police were able to identify.

 

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