Bulgarian Man Sentenced For Conspiring To Use Counterfeit Access Devices
CONTACT: Barbara Burns
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BUFFALO, N.Y.-- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Petar Petrov, 42, a citizen of Bulgaria who resides Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, who was convicted of conspiracy to possess and use counterfeit access devices with intent to defraud, was sentenced to three months in prison, by Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny. In addition, the defendant was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $20,176.27 to the Royal Bank of Canada and $66,795.74 to the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John E. Rogowski, who handled the case, stated that the defendant was arrested on September 2, 2013, as he entered the United States from Canada at the Lewiston Bridge. A Customs and Border Patrol officer found ten counterfeit access devices in Petrov’s car. The devices were gift cards which had been altered by having legitimate credit card numbers imbedded in the magnetic strips on the back of the cards. Agents determined that all 10 cards were counterfeit. The defendant and a co-conspirator placed “skimming devices” on ATMs in Canada to obtain account information.
The scheme also involved the use of a surreptitiously placed camera to record the personal identification numbers (PINS) used by customers to transact business on the ATM’s. The account information was then placed on the magnetic strips of various gift cards, creating counterfeit access devices. Petrov also used several counterfeit access devices in the Buffalo area between July and September 2013 to withdraw money from various bank accounts in Canadian Banks.
“This case is yet another reminder of how important it is to protect your personal accounts and credit cards,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “Criminals will go to any lengths, including the use of cameras, to steal your personal information. Information on how to protect one’s identity and finances can be found at www.stopfraud.gov.”
Co-conspirator Evgeniy Bandarmiliev is also charged with conspiracy to possess and use counterfeit access devices with intent to defraud. The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The sentencing is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of James C. Spero, Special Agent in Charge.