ATM skimmers who stole $420,000 plead guilty in US court

The cybercriminals used card readers and pinhole cameras to steal the details of ordinary citizens.

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Members of an ATM skimming gang which made off with at least $420,000 in stolen cash have pleaded guilty after being hunted down by police.

On Tuesday, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) said that four members of a large criminal ring have pleaded guilty of their parts in the scheme.

ATM skimming is the use of external modifications to cash dispensers in order to steal customer information, including the theft of card details which can later be used when creating clone cards, allowing others to make unauthorized purchases or to be sold in underground web forums.

Criminals may choose to use card reading devices or pinhole cameras fitted above number pads which are difficult to see but able to record PIN numbers.

US law enforcement says that these tactics were successfully used on PNC and Bank of America ATMs in New Jersey, leading to the theft of at least $428,581.

New York residents Marcel Peckham, 43, Catalin Dragomir, 33, Eduard Ticu, 32, and Silvester Papp, 25, all pleaded guilty on Tuesday in Newark federal court before US District Judge Esther Salas.

The four individuals will each be charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, which carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

Peckham admitted to providing counterfeit ATM cards to other conspirators while Dragomir, Ticu, and Papp each admitted to making unauthorized cash withdrawals using the counterfeit ATM cards between March 2015 and July 2016.

Sentencing is set for October 23, 2017.

In addition, three other members of the criminal ring, Joel Garcia, Victor Hanganu, and Radu Marin, have also pleaded guilty to their roles in the scheme and await sentencing.

To date, seven out of a total of 13 defendants have been convicted.

See also: Here's the one surprising lesson I learned as a victim of debit card fraud

These kinds of schemes can be found across the pond, too. Back in May, European police destroyed a criminal ring and made 27 arrests in connection with an ATM jackpotting scheme which spread across the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, the Netherlands, Romania, and Spain, among others.

The ring drilled holes in ATMs to physically connect a laptop or other device to the machine before performing a logic-based attack to force cash to dispense.

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