Howard man sentenced for $400,000 international ATM skimming scheme

Ivo Svetozarov Damyanov, 32, a Bulgarian citizen, was sentenced to more than six years in prison

March 16, 2012|By Steve Kilar, The Baltimore Sun

A Bulgarian man living in Howard County was sentenced to more than six years in prison Friday for his part in an debit card skimming scheme that stole more than $400,000 from at least 526 people, prosecutors said.

Ivo Svetozarov Damyanov, 32, was given 75 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for conspiracy to obtain ATM card account and personal identification numbers, Maryland's U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.

For at least two years, from Feb. 2009 though Feb. 2011, Damyanov and his conspirators placed "skimmers" into the card-reading slots of ATMs throughout Maryland, the statement said.

The skimming devices recorded account numbers off victims' debit and credit cards. A camera was also attached to the machines in order to record customers keying in their personal identification numbers.

The information captured by the skimmers and cameras were then emailed to conspirators in Bulgaria, prosecutors said. The numbers were returned to Damyanov and his conspirators in a format that allowed the information to be encoded onto the magnetic strips of gift cards, duplicating the victims' debit and credit cards.

The fraudulent cards were used to make cash withdrawals from the victims' accounts, prosecutors said.

Damyanov pleaded guilty to committing access device fraud and aggravated identity theft in September.

Another Bulgarian citizen living in Howard County, Hristo Georgiev Kostov, 29, is scheduled to be sentenced next week for his part in the conspiracy.

steve.kilar@baltsun.com

twitter.com/stevekilar

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