Cameras disguised as speakers on ATMs were used to rip off 800 victims at a cost of $112,478 to JPMorgan Chase, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
The scheme was described as part of the sentencing of Aleksandar Nikolov and Toscho Ilyeff, two Bulgarians who pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge William P. Dimitrouleas in South Florida. The charges were access device fraud and aggravated identity theft. The defendants consented to forfeiture of computers and $12,673 in cash.
According to documents filed with the court and statements made during the plea hearing, JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) employees discovered that skimming devices on the bank's ATMs were used to capture customers’ account numbers as they inserted their debit cards.
Nikolov and Ilyeff installed a wireless camera disguised as a speaker to record customers typing their PIN numbers and transmitted the footage to a cellphone, a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office said. The defendants then re-encoded this information onto Visa (NYSE: V) gift or debit cards and store gift cards, which were used to withdraw cash from the customers’ accounts at ATMs throughout South Florida.
The method seems to be another twist on swiping ATM PINs. Another common method involves putting a phony card reader on an ATM.
Sentencing for the duo has been scheduled for Aug. 31. They face a up to 10 years in prison on the access device fraud count, and a mandatory two-year sentence on the aggravated identity theft count, consecutive to the sentence imposed on the access device fraud.