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Card skimming gang gaoled

04 July 2005  |  7051 views  |  0 ATM

A gang of five Romanian illegal immigrants have been gaoled for stealing more than £600,000 from UK bank accounts in an ATM card skimming scam.

The gang of four men and a woman were caught by a surveillance operation run by the UK's Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit (DCPCU) in February this year following a tip-off from ATM network operator Link.

DCPCU says the gang had cloned 1233 bank cards and netted £643,000 from the scam.

The gang fitted false fronts and pinhole cameras to a number of ATMs across London. The camera captured PINs, while a skimming device built into the false front captured the electronic details of the cards.

All five admitted conspiracy to defraud over a period up to 9 February 2005.

The gang's ringleader, failed Romanian asylum seeker Gheorge Banu, 54, had already been recommended for deportation after he was jailed for four years for a similar fraud, but he walked free in August last year after serving his prison term. Banu was sentenced to six years for his part in the ATM scam and was told that he would also have to serve the outstanding 18 months of his previous jail term.

Banu's deputy Anton Stoica, 33, received five years, while fellow gang members Diego Urgnani, 23, and Ana Sandu, 33, received three and a half years and Adi Matei was sentenced to three years.

All the gang members were recommended for deportation on their release from gaol.

The bust is one of the largest of its kind for the DCPCU, which was set up in April 2002 to target the organised gangs who are responsible for the majority of the UK's card fraud losses, amounting to £504.8 million in 2004.

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