Orlando Man Briefly Becomes Billionaire

August 16th, 2011 by Staff

ORLANDO, Fla. — An Orlando man said he was shocked when he suddenly found his bank account was just a penny shy of a billion dollars after it was cracked by a hacker.

Otelo Vizcaino said just as soon as he saw the money in his account, someone withdrew it. That spurred a federal investigation into Vizcaino’s accounts.

“It was one penny short of $1 billion that had been wire transferred into the account and then of course the next transaction was the withdrawal of the money,” Vizcaino said.

The father of six said that despite working as a designer for Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, he found what happened next to be incredulous.

The problem is that the transaction immediately triggered a fraud alert and all his assets were frozen. That meant he couldn’t use any of his credit cards or checkbook to pay for anything.

“On the way to work I stopped to put gas in my car and it didn’t work,” Vizcaino said.

The father said that after several days of investigations, his accounts will be unfrozen soon. In the mean time, Ripley’s cut him a paper paycheck rather than direct deposit so he could have some cash on hand.

He said his co-workers also saw some value in the story.

“‘We should tell the PR department — it is a believe it or not and you are a believe it or not employee,’” Vizcaino said.

Investigators have told Vizcaino that the money was deposited into his account from someone in a foreign country who then tried to transfer it to an offshore account.

Police said it’s unclear if the hacker got any of the money. It’s also unclear how the hacker got into Vizcaino’s accounts but he said he’s taking steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

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