Man ran ATM scam for gangs worldwide from his box room
Published 10/02/2012 | 05:00
A MAN turned the box-room of his four-bedroom house into a workshop manufacturing false ATM bank machines for gangs around the world, a court heard yesterday.
When gardai raided Vitalii Pascari's home in Limerick in February 2011, they were shocked to find the heart of an ATM-skimming scam that had been pursued by police services across Europe and America.
Pascari (33), of River Road, Rhebogue, Limerick, pleaded guilty to eight counts of theft and fraud relating to the alleged manufacturing and distribution of ATM skimming devices.
Limerick Circuit Court heard that he ordered the parts directly from ATM companies and put together custom-made ATM machines for his customers.
Gardai also found €4,000 and $5,000 (€3,770) in cash at the accused's home.
The court heard that at the time of his arrest, Vitalii was unemployed and had around €30,000 in his bank account.
The prosecution explained how Pascari created bank cards for his clients by electronically encoding personal bank details of members of the public on to the magnetic strips located at the back of gift cards.
Pascari was only caught when a box, addressed to him and labelled "anti-skimming devices", was spotted at a DHL depot by customs and excise officers.
Mark Nicholas, defending, said the accused had no previous convictions, had a wife and two children aged four and five, and had previously found a woman's bag containing bank cards and cash and handed it into a garda station.
"He is not a petty thief," Mr Nicholas said.
Mr Nicholas also said the accused had helped advise expert garda fraud officers in relation to other investigations.
Judge Carroll Moran said he had "never come across a case like this before" and adjourned sentencing to next Tuesday.