News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington

‘Skimmer’ Who Compromised Bank Accounts From Seattle To Denver Sentenced To 4 Years In Prison

Stole more than $176,000 from 255 Victim Accounts

May 25, 2012

            A Sammamish, Washington man who installed ‘skimming’ devices on bank ATM machines and raided 255 victim bank accounts for more than $176,000, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to four years in prison and $177,278 in restitution announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  DMITRY A. SANDLER, 26, was arrested in November 2011, attempting to retrieve skimming equipment from a Chase Bank ATM in Everett, Washington.  SANDLER was linked to a spree of skimming activity in the Seattle area and Denver area between April and November 2011.  SANDLER pleaded guilty in February 2012 to bank fraud, access device fraud and aggravated identity theft.   At sentencing U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez noted that SANDLER is a Russian immigrant who will be deported following his prison term. SANDLER “requested asylum saying he likes Americans, then he engaged in stealing money from these very people,” Judge Martinez said. 

            According to records filed in the case, SANDLER installed skimming equipment on various ATMs, along with a pinhole camera to capture the user’s personal identification number (PIN).  The skimming equipment captured the account information, and SANDLER would link that information up with the video of the person typing in their PIN.  SANDLER would encode the account information on a blank card and use the PIN to steal money from victim accounts.  An estimated 255 people had their accounts compromised and more than $176,000 was stolen.  The skimming devices were installed primarily on Chase ATMs.  Machines in Lynnwood, Snohomish, Everett, Seattle and Denver were targeted.  On November 13, 2011, a Chase Bank investigator saw surveillance photos of SANDLER installing skimming equipment on an ATM in Everett.  He alerted the Everett Police Department and Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force.  The ATM was put under surveillance and SANDLER was arrested when he returned to retrieve his skimming equipment.

            In their request for a significant sentence for SANDLER, prosecutors pointed out that while CHASE ultimately replaced money taken from the accounts, individuals had their lives and sense of security badly disrupted.  One victim said the money taken from her account meant she could not pay her rent and was almost evicted. “This type of fraudulent activity targets and victimizes large numbers of ordinary, unwitting victims…  As the use of ATMs and debit and credit cards has become universal, virtually any person in modern society is a potential target and a foreseeable victim of such crimes.  What is more, victims are typically completely oblivious that their identities have been stolen until their accounts have been substantially emptied,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.

            The case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Justin Arnold.

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