A Brazilian man stands accused of using counterfeit debit cards at ATMs in Powell and Cody to fraudulently withdraw thousands of dollars from bank accounts around the globe. He’s now facing …
A Brazilian man stands accused of using counterfeit debit cards at ATMs in Powell and Cody to fraudulently withdraw thousands of dollars from bank accounts around the globe. He’s now facing federal criminal charges that carry the possibility of years of prison time, as well as deportation.
Allisson Mar Bebiano, 29, is alleged to have fraudulently withdrawn nearly $8,000 from Big Horn Federal Savings ATMs between late October and his arrest in Cody on Nov. 25.
When police later searched Bebiano’s rental car, they found receipts for numerous ATM transactions and roughly $13,000 in cash, mostly in $20 bills.
Cody officers also seized a fake Brazilian ID, nearly two dozen debit/credit cards and equipment capable of encoding the cards’ magnetic strips with other people’s bank account information.
The Park County Attorney’s Office initially charged Bebiano with 17 felony counts, but dropped its charges on Friday to allow federal prosecutors to take up the case.
On Thursday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office charged Bebiano with three felonies: attempting to use a counterfeit access device; using unauthorized access devices to obtain $1,000 or more; and possessing device-making equipment, with each alleged offense affecting interstate commerce.
Before being transferred to federal custody last week, Bebiano had been held in the Park County Detention Center with bond set at $500,000; federal prosecutors are seeking to have him detained while a trial is pending.
In a Thursday filing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Christyne Martens of Casper said there is a “serious risk [Bebiano] will flee” if he’s released — and that there are no bond conditions a judge could impose that would reasonably assure that the suspect would reappear in court.
In court documents, Bebiano has described himself as an unemployed resident of Uberaba, a city in the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. He’s been in and out of the United States 15 times since 2014, according to records reviewed by the FBI, most recently coming to the country on a travel visa that was good until April. Bebiano told Cody police he was on vacation.
Bebiano is alleged to have fraudulently withdrawn $7,960 from Big Horn Federal ATMs, doing so in 14 different transactions between Oct. 29 and Nov. 25.
The accounts Bebiano accessed were housed at other banks, most of them in foreign countries, according to a report that Big Horn Federal provided to police.
“Some of these institutions were located in Spain, France, South Africa, Jamaica, Mexico, India, Hungary and Switzerland,” FBI Special Agent Neeki Carter of Casper wrote in an affidavit submitted in federal court.
Big Horn Federal’s senior security officer first contacted Cody police on Nov. 12, after software flagged several withdrawals as being suspicious. Surveillance cameras on the bank’s ATMs captured multiple images of the suspect, along with his rented 2019 GMC Yukon.
“Bebiano can be seen withdrawing actual U.S. currency from the ATM machines in several of the transactions,” Cody Police Officer Scott Burlingame wrote in an affidavit, adding that, “Bebiano is the only person ever depicted in the surveillance footage …”
Burlingame discovered that a man identifying himself as “Douglas Machado” had rented the Yukon at the Salt Lake City airport on Oct. 25; it had been returned to the Billings airport on Nov. 7.
Suspecting that the man was staying in the Cody area, Burlingame began checking local hotels. That effort paid off when a staffer at the Holiday Inn recognized a “Machado” as a recent guest; Burlingame learned that the man still owed the hotel around $55, as his credit card had started being declined.
Meanwhile, as police continued investigating, Bebiano is alleged to have continued trying to pull money out of victims’ accounts.
On Nov. 20, he was allegedly captured on video making five attempts to withdraw cash from Big Horn Federal ATMs — using five different debit cards. Burlingame said the suspect’s M.O. was to spend “a considerable amount of time” at the machines, trying multiple cards.
On Nov. 24, Burlingame covertly kept an eye on Big Horn Federal’s Cody bank in an effort to catch the man red-handed, but Bebiano didn’t show up during the officer’s shift.
However, on the morning of Monday, Nov. 25, Big Horn Federal Savings President Scott Petersen called police to report that the suspect was trying to use a Sunlight Federal Credit Union ATM just north of the Big Horn Federal’s Cody location.
Quickly responding to the scene, Burlingame recognized the driver in the rented Nissan sedan as the man he’d been seeking and pulled him over.
Bebiano identified himself with his real passport and denied going by Douglas Machado — or knowing anything about the fraudulent withdrawals. However, police later found a Brazilian personal identification card for a “Douglas Diego Gomez Machado” in his car.
Police also seized two different devices that can be used to fraudulently encode cards to act like a person’s debit card, plus the thousands of dollars in cash, various cards, receipts and financial statements.
Of the debit/credit cards found in the Nissan, about 14 had been encoded with a different number from the one embossed on the front of the card, Agent Carter wrote in her affidavit. She found 11 different names associated with the data.
Officer Burlingame said in his affidavit that authorities aren’t exactly sure what methods Bebiano used to get the cash.
However, Agent Carter is quoted in charging documents as saying that fraudsters typically purchase debit card information from black market websites, then use a card encoder to attach the information to a card with a magnetic strip; she indicated that gift cards, voided credit and debit cards and hotel room key cards can work.
As part of efforts to crack down on those and other types of counterfeit credit cards, payment processors have been pressuring businesses to transition to “smart cards” that include circuit chips and follow a security-boosting standard called EMV.
However, many businesses have yet to fully implement EMV protocols, which, under payment processor rules, can make them liable for any in-person fraud that occurs.
An internal Big Horn Federal report quoted in charging documents says that the bank’s ATMs were “non-EMV enabled,” which “places full liability on Big Horn Federal to reimburse individual card owners fully for the lost funds.”
If found guilty of illegally obtaining the cash, Bebiano could be required to repay Big Horn Federal.
As of midday Monday, federal officials had yet to publicly schedule Bebiano’s first court appearance. He remained in the custody of the Natrona County Sheriff’s Office in Casper.