Alleged mastermind in ATM scam from Romania
THE alleged mastermind behind an automated teller machine (ATM) scam that has created apprehension in the banking sector was on Monday arrested by members of the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB).
Detective Sergeant Orville Morgan, who is assigned to the St Andrew South CIB, told the Jamaica Observer that the man a Romanian, and a Jamaican man, were picked up at an ATM in Half-Way-Tree on Monday. The men were allegedly in the act of withdrawing cash from accounts for which they had captured information.
"We received information that a Romanian that we are looking for, that we suspect is the mastermind behind the ATM fraud, identified in video footage and photos, was active," the sergeant said.
"We got information that this Romanian frequents a bar in Olympic Gardens and information that he is planning to strike somewhere around the Half-Way-Tree area or in the Three Miles area. So communication was made to the Half-Way-Tree CIB for them to make their assessment of how to deal with the situation as well as inform other officers to be on the look-out," Morgan added.
He told the Observer yesterday, that the Jamaican was observed for more than 20 minutes at the machine before being approached by the Romanian who engaged him in conversation for some time. This, he said, raised suspicion and the team of officers was alerted. A joint operation between members from the Half-Way-Tree CIB and the Hunts Bay CIB was carried out and the men taken into custody.
Morgan explained that the men would use United States department store cards with magnetic strips to capture customers’ credit and debit card information and place customers’ personal identification numbers on these cards, which they would later use to withdraw funds around the Corporate Area.
He added that the alleged scammers operated "any time after 11:00 pm" when they would withdraw the day’s maximum amount from the accounts and then do the same after 12:00 am.
The two were allegedly caught with more than $180,000 and 19 US department store cards.
The Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch is conducting further investigations.
The men are yet to be charged.