Four financial whizzes forged a bond at NYU — then joined forces to devise an incredibly simple ATM scheme that wound up bilking up to $1 million from scores of banks, authorities said yesterday.
The conniving quartet included a well-connected lawyer who interned with the Queens DA's Office, a Vietnamese refugee-turned-financial-broker, and a married bank-executive couple, officials said yesterday.
"This was a beaut of a scam," said Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes.
The scheme involved the four setting up bank accounts, then disguising themselves when they went to withdraw the money at ATMs and later claiming they were the victims of theft-by-ATM, officials said.
They would demand that the banks refund their money as required by law.
If the banks balked, the ringleader, Manhattan lawyer Eric Manganelli, 36, would call and pressure them until they coughed up the dough, authorities said.
At times, the scheme bordered on surreal.
"Their excuses of how they lost their ATM cards were absolutely absurd," said prosecutor Karen Turner. "Manganelli [told one bank] he took a leather case with all his cards and a sheet with all his PIN numbers and he decided to put them in a safety deposit box.
"He said he left it on the counter instead of locking it in the box and, unbenownst to him, all the accounts were looted."
Still, the four college pals managed to keep the scheme going from 2003 to last August, authorities said.