Barman Turned Millionaire Thanks to ATM Loophole

It’s always easier spending someone else’s money, right?  Meet Dan Sanders, 29, who discovered a “loophole” in his bank’s ATM system. Dan lived an extravagant life of gambling, high profile escorts, exclusive restaurants and traveling in private jets. In a short 4 and half months, he stole and spent over $1.6 million (USD). There is still a warrant out for the con’s arrest.


Having discovered a technical glitch in his bank’s system, Dan realized he had “free” access to money whenever and wherever he desired.


Dan made his discovery after being out drinking with some friends.


With only $3 in his savings account, Dan successfully transferred $200 from his credit card – even though the screen read, “transaction cancelled.” He took home $200 despite the message on the screen.


Here’s and inside scoop as to how the process worked:

  • Dan discovered that he could transfer funds from his credit card to his savings account while the bank’s ATM system was “offline”
  • Even though the ATM read “transaction cancelled” on the screen, the ATM still provided the cash
  • Realizing the ATM could not record the transactions late at night but still provided cash, Dan took advantage of the system
  • Without a record of the transfer on his account, the cash appeared to be free
  • The withdrawals continued without the bank taking notice
  • He also discovered that he could transfer money from his “credit” option to a MasterCard – even though he only owned one credit card

Saunders says that he “never felt more alive than when I was charging on my credit card.” He said he felt like a king or a rock star.  How did this happen?

He says he was just out drinking with some friends one night. He went to the ATM to withdraw cash but only had $3 in his account. There was an option to select the transfer of credit card funds to his savings account. Despite the screen reading that the transaction had been cancelled, the ATM dispensed the cash anyway. Putting the pieces together, Dan discovered that the ATMs were “offline” running end-of-day routine maintenance and were unable to record the transaction. So Dan not only took the $200 that night, but revisited the same machine after his evening out and took out his credit limit. With a total of $2000 in his pocket and no record of the transaction, Dan was well on his way to a whole new lifestyle.


Dan told his new “friends” he was a poker player, surgeon or investment banker.


Anyone making $700 a week would be more than surprised to make the discovery Dan did.


But Dan didn’t stop there – within a few short weeks, he had transferred $20k (USD) in funds.  All appeared to be going well but a few things did not add up. Dan’s excitement about his new funds spurred rumors within his small town – ones that he could not explain or get out of. Unfortunately, the rumors caused unwanted scrutiny of his profession versus the size of his bank account. He quickly lost his job. These even made their way to his then-girlfriend, who dumped him via text message.


Private jets were one of the many sources of splurging on his spending spree.


Within a few short months, Dan had over $1.6 million (USD) in his hands.


But Dan didn’t wallow in his losses – he sought advice and counsel from his friends and kept on truckin’. He said, “On one hand you’ve lost your girlfriend, lost your job, but on the other hand, hey, you’ve got unlimited funds. Let’s smash it up for a bit let’s sort things out.” Dan knew the situation was short-lived – so he optimized the situation the best he could. He developed several new alias names to his new friends – including that of a poker player, a surgeon and investment banker.  But then it even got better. The ATM offered a way for Dan to double his money. There was a “credit” account option available via a MasterCard – even though he only had one card in his name.


What Dan first thought was luck turned into a discovery that he could beat the system.


By May of the same year, Dan had stolen over $1.6 million (USD) of the bank’s funds. By that time, Dan also started to feel guilty and saw a psychologist.  It was at this time, four and a half months into the venture that Dan discontinued his transfers. He decided to turn himself in. He first called television-broadcasting show “A Current Affair” and then called the bank. The bank was under a police investigation at that time and would not speak with him.

Unfortunately, the courts could not determine his guilt, as there was fault with the banking system. This left Dan getting away scott-free for his actions. It appeared that he had “overdrawn his own accounts.” Perhaps loopholes in ATM systems are not the only thing Dan has a knack for – perhaps legal systems as well.


After his spree, his conscience got a hold of him and he called the bank. The police were already on the case, so the bank would not speak with him.


A week ago, the police issued a warrant for Dan’s arrest. Dan is now missing in action.

See the clip to see the full version of the story:


By Hannah Jones

Hannah is a Manchester based writer who has spent many years studying and working in the field of journalism and psychology. Hannah enjoys swimming, meditation and dog walking. Her favourite quote is, 'If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you.'