Alleged Members of $2.1 Million Identity Theft Ring Charged in New York
The funds were stolen via internally installed, Bluetooth-enabled skimming devices.
Thirteen people were recently indicted for using skimming devices at gas stations throughout the southern U.S. to steal and launder approximately $2.1 million via ATMs and banks in New York City.
Four lead defendants -- Garegin Spartalyan, 40, Aram Martirosian, 34, Hayk Dzhandzhapanyan, 40, and Davit Kudugulyan, 42 -- were charged with money laundering in the second degree, criminal possession of stolen property in the second degree, grand larceny in the second and third degree, criminal possession of a forgery device, and criminal possession of forged instruments in the second degree. The other defendants -- Azat Aramyan, 25, Norayr Aramyan, 25, Argine Ananyan, 34, Rosa Unusyan, 24, Sona Minasyan, 51, Armen Abroyan, 36, Hasmik Miribian, 64, Artur Pogosyan, 31, and Rose Vardui Pndlyan, 47 -- were charged with two counts of either money laundering in the second degree or money laundering in the third degree.
The four lead defendants allegedly used internally installed, Bluetooth-enabled skimming devices to steal credit card numbers and PIN numbers at Raceway and RaceTrac gas stations in Texas, Georgia and South Carolina. They then allegedly encoded the stolen information onto forged credit cards, and used those credit cards to withdraw cash at ATMs in Manhattan from March 2012 to March 2013, then deposited the stolen money into bank accounts in New York.
The other defendants then allegedly withdrew that money at banks in California and Nevada.
"By using skimming devices planted inside gas station pumps, these defendants are accused of fueling the fastest growing crime in the country," Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., said in a statement. "Cybercriminals and identity thieves are not limited to any geographic region, working throughout the world behind computers. In this case, the defendants are charged with stealing personal identifying information from victims in southern states, used forged bank cards on the East Coast, and withdrew stolen proceeds on the West Coast."
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.