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November 9, 2012

Department of Justice

United States Attorney William C. Killian Eastern District of Tennessee

Atlanta Area Man Sentenced To Serve 38 Months For Bank ATM “Skimmer” Fraud And Aggravated Identity Theft In Tennessee

Over $72,000 Stolen During a Four-day Period

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Atanas G. Georgiev, 29, of Atlanta, Ga., was sentenced on Nov. 8, 2012, by the Honorable Curtis L. Collier, U.S. District Judge, to serve 38 months in federal prison for conspiring to use and possess counterfeit bank ATM cards, bank fraud, using a counterfeit bank ATM card, and aggravated identity theft. Upon his release from prison, Georgiev will serve a term of five years supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $72,480 in restitution.

Georgiev admitted that he conspired with Chris Dragiev, 28, formerly of Kennesaw, Ga., to use and possess counterfeit bank ATM cards. Bank account numbers and Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) were obtained from bank customers through the use of a “skimmer,” a device that was surreptitiously attached to a Regions bank ATM in East Ridge, Tenn., in September and October 2011, and recorded the numbers when customers accessed their accounts. Blank Wal-Mart gift cards, matching the size and shape of a bank ATM card and including a magnetic strip, were then re-coded with the bank account information. Georgiev admitted that he and Dragiev used the re-coded Wal-Mart gift cards as counterfeit bank ATM cards to withdraw cash from the customers’ accounts using ATMs in Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The pair obtained $72,480 over a four-day period from Regions Bank customers. In October 2011, they were found in possession of 39 counterfeit ATM cards and $3,920 in cash, when they were arrested in Nashville, Tenn., moments after they had withdrawn money from an ATM machine using one of the counterfeit cards.

Dragiev has not been apprehended and remains a fugitive. He is a white male, approximately 6 feet tall and weighing 188 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes. If any individual knows of Dragiev’s whereabouts, they should contact their local U.S. Secret Service office.

“Financial fraud occurs too often in our society. Whether it is a credit, debit or ATM card, or in another form, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will actively pursue and prosecute those who violate federal criminal law. Knowledge of fraud of this nature should be reported to the Secret Service or the FBI,” said U. S. Attorney Bill Killian.

This conviction is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service, Chattanooga Police Department, East Ridge Police Department, Metro Nashville Police Department, and Dalton, Georgia Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregg L. Sullivan prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.

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