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Two Arrested in ATM Kiting Scheme

DARIEN, Conn. – Two men were arrested on Thursday at the Darien Bank & Trust for attempting to fraudulently withdraw money from an ATM, police say.

Mohamed Ghanem, 60, of Astoria, N.Y., and Mohamed Abdelrahman, 54, of Flushing, N.Y., are believed to be involved in similar incidents in Greenwich, Stamford and Norwalk, Darien police say.

The two were using a process known as "kiting," in which money is deposited into accounts from other checking accounts that are either closed or lack sufficient funds. The perpetrators then withdraw the money before the bank realizes the funds are not available, police say.

Ghanem and Abdelrahman deposited $4,000 into the Darien Bank & Trust on July 11 from an account that was either closed or lacked sufficient funds. On Thursday, they went to the ATM and attempted to withdraw $600. When that failed, they tried to take out $200. They went inside and approached a teller to find out the balance, police say.

The Darien branch had been warned about the two from the Greenwich Bank & Trust, where Ghanem and Abdelrahman had made similar attempts a month earlier, police say. The Darien employees called the police, who arrested the two men.

Darien police say they also learned that last month the two deposited $10,000 into the Darien Rowayton Bank from an account that was either closed or lacked sufficient funds. Over a two-day period, they were able to withdraw $2,800, police say.

For the incident at Darien Bank & Trust, they were charged with third-degree larceny, conspiracy to third-degree larceny, criminal attempt to fifth-degree larceny and criminal attempt to sixth-degree larceny. For the incident at Darien Rowayton Bank, they were charged with third-degree larceny and conspiracy to second-degree larceny. They were held on $200,000 and will appear in court Friday.

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