'Brilliant' ATM card fraudster pursued across Europe and America hands over €8,400 cash
Published 07/12/2012 | 05:00
THOUSANDS of euro have been forfeited to the State after it was found in the home of a mastermind criminal who ran a global bank card scam.
The man behind the elaborate illegal bank card enterprise, Vitalii Pascari, appeared in court and agreed to an application for more than €8,400 to be held by the State.
Approximately €4,100 and $5,650 (€4,300) was recovered by gardai at the house last year.
The court also ordered that a laptop, seized at Pascari's semi-detached home, be forfeited to the State.
Supt Frank O'Brien of Henry Street garda station made the application under the police property act after the money was seized in February last year.
Pascari's neighbours never guessed that the clean-cut Moldovan was manufacturing false automated ATM bank machines and cards for criminal gangs around the world.
Using online videos, Pascari taught himself how to manufacture dodgy ATMs.
The 34-year old had been pursued by police forces across Europe and America, but it wasn't until gardai raided his four-bed home in Limerick that the sophistication of his skimming operation was uncovered.
Pascari pleaded guilty at Limerick Circuit Court to eight counts of theft and fraud relating to the alleged manufacturing and distribution of ATM skimming devices.
At his sentencing hearing in February this year, Judge Caroll Moran said Pascari was clearly a "brilliant" man and it was a shame he chose to use his intelligence to pursue a life of crime.
Pascari was jailed for five years for the scam, which he told gardai he'd been running for a year.
He was shipping false ATMs and ATM parts to clients in Greece, Italy, Hong Kong, South Africa, France and the US.
At the time of his arrest, Pascari was completing three new orders for clients in Europe.
He has since used his expertise to help gardai in other fraud investigations.
Pascari, who is married with two young children, had no previous convictions prior to his arrest last year.
Pascari's arrest was at the height of a spate of skimming scams, mainly organised by Bulgarian gangs based here.