Stanley Mark Rifkin

Stanley Mark Rifkin (born in 1946) is a convicted criminal in the United States responsible for stealing $10.2 million through wire transfer via telephone in the autumn of 1978. At the time, it was the largest bank theft in U.S. history.[1]

Stanley Mark Rifkin
Born1946 (age 73–74)
OccupationComputer programmer/consultant
Criminal chargeTheft

Security Pacific National Bank heistEdit

Working for a company under contract to develop a backup system for the Security Pacific National Bank wire room, Rifkin learned of the transfer procedures used, and found that bank agents would frequently write down the daily transfer code. One day in mid-October 1978, he made his way into the transfer room, saw the code, memorized it and walked out. Using social engineering techniques, he then made a few phone calls and had $10.2 million wired to the Irving Trust Company in New York City for the credit of the Wozchod Handels Bank of Zurich in Switzerland, where he'd already set up an account.[2]

Having previously set up a diamond transaction, he hired a diamond merchant to pick up 43,200 carats (8.64 kg) in diamonds from the Soviet Trading company, which he had purchased for USD 8.1 million. Rifkin then hired a diamond merchant to buy the diamonds from the Soviet trading company in Switzerland. Rifkin then played the role of diamond courier, picked up the diamonds at the airport, put them in his checked luggage, and returned to Los Angeles. He then asked his former lawyer to negotiate giving the diamonds (then worth more than in Switzerland) to the Bank in exchange for a consulting contract to help solve the security problem he identified by his fraud. It was his former lawyer (not under client/lawyer privilege) who reported him to the FBI. The FBI didn't have enough evidence to prosecute; so they set up and executed a sting luring him into doing another crime where they did have enough evidence to prosecute. He pled guilty. He was captured shortly after, just before midnight on November 5.[1]


  1. ^ a b "The Ultimate Heist". Time. 1978-11-20. p. 48.
  2. ^ Kevin Mitnick (2002). The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security. ISBN 0-471-23712-4.

Further readingEdit

  • Nash, Jay Robert. The Encyclopedia of World Crime. Wilmette, IL: Crime Books, 1990, pp. 2582–2583.
  • "Profile" Stanley Rifkin",