US Jails Two Bulgarians for Skimming
Two natives of Bulgaria, who created counterfeit credit and debit cards from information they would steal at ATM machines in six US states, have been sentenced to more than 10 years in prison by a federal judge in Birmingham, Alabama, local media reported.
Mariana Pashova, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was sentenced to 10 years and one month in prison. Antonio Velikov, who is not a citizen, was also sentenced to the same amount of time at another hearing.
Velikov will likely be deported after he serves his sentence. Velikov's attorney told the judge that Velikov wants to be deported.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Kay Atwood told the judge the two should be held accountable for the large scheme that resulted in a loss to Banks and others of USD 910,000.
Pashova and Velikov had pleaded guilty in June to charges of bank fraud, possession of more than 300 counterfeit credit or debit cards, and aggravated identity theft.
According to their plea agreements with the U.S. Attorneys Office, Velikov and Pashova were part of an organized group of individuals who traveled from state to state placing skimmers and cameras on ATM machines to harvest account information and personal identification numbers from debit and credit cards.
The states were North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, South Carolina, and Tennessee. They then used that information to create counterfeit cards and steal money from the accounts associated with those cards.
Pashova and Velikov were arrested May 20, 2011 by Hoover police for trying to put a "skimmer" -- a credit-debit card reader and information-storage device -- on a Regions Bank ATM.
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