Brazilian National Sentenced for Role in ATM Skimming Scheme
BOSTON – A Brazilian national pleaded guilty and was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Boston in connection with an ATM skimming operation.
Karem Kawamura, 25, pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting the use of a counterfeit access device and was immediately sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns to time served (three months) and one year of supervised release. Kawamura has agreed to be deported.
In November 2017, Kawamura and her husband, Alexandre Kawamura, entered the U.S. on six-month tourist visas. They traveled to Texas, where, with his wife’s knowledge, Mr. Kawamura placed skimming devices on ATMs in several cities. In January they traveled to the Boston area, and Mrs. Kawamura checked them into a hotel in Chelsea using a fake ID with the alias “Sheyla Porto.” She used this alias to receive two packages from Brazil, each containing ATM skimming equipment. Mr. Kawamura rented a storage unit in Everett using a fake ID with the alias “Alex Justo.” With his wife’s knowledge, he used the storage unit to store ATM skimming equipment. Also with his wife’s knowledge, between February 24 and March 15, 2018, Mr. Kawamura placed skimming devices on drive-up ATMs at Eastern Bank branches in Saugus, Medford, Stoneham, and Malden.
On March 16, 2018, the Kawamuras shopped at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Medford. Mr. Kawamura went to the register and used a credit card bearing his “Alex Justo” alias to pay for a shirt, jacket, and hat. The magnetic strip on the card contained a victim’s stolen bank account information, which Mrs. Kawamura knew about. Mr. Kawamura was arrested later that day and is facing federal charges. He has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial. Mrs. Kawamura was arrested two weeks after her husband.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Office; Medford Police Chief Leo Sacco; Milton Police Chief John E. King; Saugus Police Chief Domenic J. DiMella; Stoneham Police Chief James T. McIntyre; and Woburn Police Chief Robert J. Ferullo Jr. made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Wichers of Lelling’s Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the cases.