Romanian cash machine fraudster skimmed cards to get 9,000 pin numbers… worth £3.25m

November 27, 2012 | by | 0 Comments

A Romanian who used a cash machine skimming device to obtain 9,000 pin numbers worth £3million was facing jail today after admitting fraud.

Leonid Rotaru, 32, was caught red-handed as he returned to collect a sophisticated card reader from an ATM in Minehead, Somerset.

Police raided his home and found the details of 9,000 bank cards on his home computer which could potentially have allowed him to steal £3.25million, according to police.

Romanian cashpoint skimmer Leonid Rotaru

Romanian cashpoint skimmer Leonid Rotaru

An image from the cash point skimming machine used by Rotaru to record people's pin numbers

An image from the cash point skimming machine used by Rotaru to record people’s pin numbers

Barry Douglas, from Avon and Somerset Police’s Economic Crime Unit, said he believes Rotaru was part of a well-organised criminal enterprise.

“You can tell from the quality of the equipment that was attached to the ATM, you can tell from the amount of detail that was found on the computer.

“This was well-organised, well-orchestrated and with good criminal connections.”

Rotaru used a highly-sophisticated card reader which fitted over the card entry slot of ATM machines.

Users would unwittingly pass their card through the reader, which would record the details of their card and account.

CCTV captures Rotaru returning to remove his skimmer from a cash machine in Somerset

CCTV captures Rotaru returning to remove his skimmer from a cash machine in Somerset

A tiny pinhole camera hidden in the device would then film the victim entering their PIN number.

Mr Douglas said: “It fits over the card slot on an ATM and as the card goes in it will read your details off the card.

“The camera will see you put your PIN in, it will see your finger strokes and it will know which card it goes with.”

Police were called to a cash machine outside Tesco in Minehead after customers reported suspicions about the device.

Officers reviewed CCTV footage and spotted Rotaru fitting the device. He was arrested when he returned later in the day to retrieve it.

Mr Douglas added: “By irony or total coincidence the guy was coming back, we think, to remove the device.

“The PC had already seen the CCTV of him fitting it earlier in the day, recognised the person and he was arrested.”

Rotaru, a Romanian national living in Bridgwater, Somerset, pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud and the possession of various skimming devices at Taunton Crown Court.

He was already on the run from the police in the UK for similar offences when he was caught.

Judge David Ticehurst remanded him in custody and said all options were open when he is sentenced at a date to be fixed.

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