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October 21, 2011

BOSTON - Two Bulgarian men were sentenced today in federal court for using counterfeit ATM cards, bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft in connection with a skimming scheme in which they compromised and used numerous ATMs throughout eastern Massachusetts and stole more than $135,000.

IVAYLO HRISTOV, 29, of Toronto, Canada and VLADISLAV VLADEV, 37, of Sofiya, Bulgaria, both Bulgarian nationals, were sentenced today by United States District Judge Patti B. Saris.

HRISTOV was sentenced to 65 months in prison and VLADEV was sentenced to 75 months in prison after both men pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges of using counterfeit ATM cards, bank fraud, aggravated identity theft and possession of device-making equipment in connection with this scheme. Judge Saris also ordered both men to pay restitution in the amount of $91,580 to Citizens Bank and $43,800 to Bank of America, which had reimbursed their victim card holders. Co-defendant, ANTON VENKOV, 41, is awaiting sentencing on similar charges.

Between mid-December 2009 and the end of January 2010, the three men used counterfeit ATM cards at numerous locations throughout Mass. using information that had been skimmed from the magnetic strips of legitimate ATM cards by a device they attached to the ATM. They then sent the magnetic strip information to Bulgaria to be decrypted. They also captured the corresponding PINs through the use of a concealed camera at the ATM. The decrypted information was encoded onto other blank cards, such as American Express and Dunkin Donut gift cards, which were then used as counterfeit ATM cards.

U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Steven Ricciardi, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service; and Bruce M. Foucart, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston made the announcement today. The case was investigated by the Secret Service, with assistance from ICE; the investigations units at Citizens Bank and Bank of America; the Massachusetts State Police; the Milton and Quincy Police Departments; and the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra S. Bower of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.



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