Bulgarian National Pleads Guilty to Possession of a Device to Make Fraudulent Credit and Debit Cards
Defendant Believed to Be Part of an Ongoing International Identity Theft Ring
Baltimore, Maryland – Martin Aleksandrov Enev, age 27, a Bulgarian national residing in Randallstown, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to possession of device-making equipment with the intent to defraud.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Brian Murphy of the United States Secret Service - Baltimore Field Office; and Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department.
According to his plea agreement, on July 20, 2016, Bulgarian Customs Officers contacted U.S. Secret Service agents after they identified what they believed to be an illegal “ATM skimming device” concealed within a black and green nylon pouch, which is capable of reading the encrypted information contained in the magnetic strip on the back of a credit or debit card. The pouch had been discovered during a routine screening of international shipments scheduled to depart from the airport. The pouch was enclosed inside a shipper’s plastic delivery envelope with a packing slip attached addressed to “Marin Penev” at an address in Randallstown. Bulgarian authorities sent photographs of the device and envelope to the Secret Service.
On July 21, 2016, members of the USSS Maryland Electronic Crimes Task Force arranged a controlled delivery of the envelope and its contents once it arrived in the United States. On July 26, 2016, Enev picked up the package, providing a Maryland driver’s license in his name as identification. Special Agents of the USSS and Baltimore County Detectives followed Enev to a residence in Randallstown. The owner of the residence advised agents that Enev rented a room on the first floor of the residence and provided agents with Enev’s telephone number. A Secret Service agent called the phone number and spoke to Enev who agreed to exit the residence. Enev came out of the house and was taken into custody.
Search warrants were executed at Enev’s residence and his vehicle. From the vehicle, law enforcement recovered the opened shipping envelope, which was empty; one box containing 15 pre-paid gift and credit cards capable of being recoded with fraudulently obtained financial proceeds, along with various business cards; and three paper receipts indicating the reloading of a pre-paid gift card in the amount of $270. The search of Enev’s living area recovered: the black and green nylon pouch containing an ATM skimming, which matched the photographs of the device sent by Bulgarian authorities; two other ATM skimming devices inside the hall closet, along with a magnetic card re-encoder and 40 blank white credit cards; a desktop computer and cellular phone; and prepaid credit cards found in a desk and in Enev’s wallet. Also located in the wallet was a Maryland driver’s license bearing his name and photograph, and a Bulgarian identification card bearing Enev’s photograph. His Republic of Bulgaria driver’s license and European Union identification card were also seized during search.
A preliminary review of the prepaid gift cards and credit cards seized during the search revealed that some of them had been recoded with other people’s personal identifying information (PII), including their names and financial account numbers, creating a counterfeit access device capable of accessing those persons’ bank accounts and/or credit card balances through an ATM machine. The USSS confirmed that money had already been withdrawn from some of those financial accounts. PII contained on some of the other cards in Enev’s possession was obtained from financial accounts or credit cards created and issued in Europe. The government believes that Enev played a key role in an ongoing identity theft ring with ties to a criminal association based in Europe.
Enev and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts the plea agreement Enev will be sentenced to 33 months in prison. U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett has scheduled sentencing for January 9, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. Enev remains detained.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the U.S. Secret Service and Baltimore County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Martin J. Clarke, who is prosecuting the case.