Russians and Eastern Europeans Steal Credit Card Information, Rip-off Washington State Residents

Looks like they just flew in and set up a credit card skimming fraud scheme.

credit card skimming
Did you know you could take a course (if you speak Russian) in how to steal credit card data!  

Check out this story from the Tri-City Herald, a paper serving Kennewick, Pasco and Richland, Washington.  And, check out this fantastic reporting by Kristin Kraemer!  This is reporting as it should be!

No typical politically-correct reporting identifying the perps as “man,” or Washington “man” here.

No ‘secret decoder ring’ needed!

Straight up in the headline—these are foreign crooks!

Two are Russians, the other two are from Romania and Moldova.

From the Tri-City Herald (hat tip: Robin):

These foreigners ran a credit card skimming ring in the Tri-Cities, say police

Dozens of Tri-Citians were the victim of a highly sophisticated credit card scam that ended with the arrests of four Eastern Europeans.

Police say the alleged thieves weren’t caught until they had already siphoned $17,000 from accounts just after Christmas.

And there may be dozens more unknowing victims throughout Eastern Washington since police confiscated at least 268 gift cards, each one loaded with a separate account number, name and PIN number.

While the suspects were nabbed at Numerica Credit Union in Richland, court documents show they were operating out of hotels in Yakima County and driving rental cars from Seattle and Southern California.

[….]

Emil Kabirov, 21, Denis Legun, 24, Ana Onici, 22, and George Vasile, 35, appeared Friday in Benton County Superior Court.

Judge Joe Burrowes raised Kabirov’s bail to $500,000 — an amount typically reserved for defendants in murder, violent assault and certain child sex cases.

Bail is set at $100,000 each for Legun and Vasile with the stipulation that they surrender their passports before posting bond. If they don’t hand them over but want to be released, the bail amount increases to $500,000 on each.

[….]

The suspects may have used a skimming device attached to an ATM, gas pump or a card reader in a store to record legitimate transactions.

The stolen information, or metadata, is then downloaded from the device, providing scammers with account numbers and access PINs.

Often, that information is used to make counterfeit cards with blank gift cards so the thieves can use them like credit or debit cards at various ATMs to unlawfully withdraw money from those accounts.

Much more here.

Kabirov and Legun are identified as Russians, Vasile is Romanian, and Onica is from Moldova and all are ordered to appear in court in February.  A fifth suspect got away.

Kudos to Ms. Kraemer!

So why can’t we have reporting like this more often—reporting that doesn’t shy away from telling the public when the crooks are immigrants of some sort!

However, I still have one question:  which legal immigration program did this bunch use to get in to the US, or did they arrive illegally somehow?  How can we ever reform immigration if we don’t know where the loopholes are that crooks like these creeps take advantage of?

EDITORS NOTE: This column by Frauds, Crooks and Criminals with images is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Two Paddles Axe and Leatherwork on Unsplash.

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