ATM Expert Witnesses Evaluate Incorrect Transaction Records in Theft Case


Police Activities Expert WitnessThis case involves an alleged theft of public funds by a public employee in a city in Arkansas. According to allegations made by the city’s police department, the Defendant illegally withdrew funds from an ATM machine that was owned and operated by the city government. The Defendant contended that the machine suffered a malfunction, and that he was not aware that the machine had logged the allegedly fraudulent transactions.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. What is your familiarity with this model of ATM?
  • 2. To the best of your knowledge, can ATM's malfunction and incorrectly record and/or distribute funds to a customer?

Expert Witness Response E-007296

I am very familiar with this and other very similar machines. I own them, have installed them, programmed them, operated them, loaded software updates on them, fixed their hardware issues, addressed claims by cardholders of inaccurate transactions, and I have tools to read the ATM journals and review host (bank) records to see if they correlate properly. It is rare, but I have had errors occur at the ATM. In these cases, the exact cause of the error can be uncertain, however transactions that were recorded in error can be positively identified.

Expert Witness Response E-007248

Although rare, it is possible for an ATM to record amounts incorrectly and/or dispense currency incorrectly. If this happens, there are sometimes a few other symptoms that are recorded in the journal of the ATM. I have come across a few cases where cash discrepancies in balancing were the result of a hardware or software fault on an ATM. I am familiar with the model of ATM in question here, and am aware of a few aspects of it’s operation which could potentially lead to an error of this nature.

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