Four members of an ATM card skimming gang blamed for stealing at least £200,000 were each jailed for four years on Thursday. The unfantastic foursome, all from Eastern Europe, put false facias on cash machines and filmed shoppers entering their PIN numbers.
The London-based gang were caught when staff in a Cardiff hotel became suscipicious and called the police. Investigators arerested the gang and recovered a cache of hi-tech equipment from their hotel and a car including laptop computers, cameras, tape recorders, radio transmitters and a false fascia for an ATM machine. The gang used a wireless link to download card data onto a laptop. Police recovered the card details of 129 accounts leading to charges they might have netted up to £200,000 through the scam.
Prosecutor Nuhu Gobir told the court: "Equipment seized from the defendants showed the defendants were engaged in a well-organised and highly sophisticated operation to defraud banks of thousands of pounds. The false fascia was examined and found to contain an electronic card reader and memory recording for retaining the details of bank cards. This would be done when the cards were put through the fascia. The criminal technique involved in this is known as 'skimming'."
Rulan Ashan, 20, from Chechnya, Ivan Grosu, 23, from Moldova as well as Romanians Lucian Carabgeac, 32 and Vornicu Florin, 26, were sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court after admitting consiracy to steal. Each faces deportation after serving their sentence on the recommendation from Judge Christopher Llewellyn-Jones. ATM users were urged to be vigilient about using their cards. ®