Chase ATM Skimmers Sentenced

Separate Cases Involved Vestibule Skimming
Chase ATM Skimmers Sentenced

In separate cases, ATM skimming fraudsters who defrauded hundreds of Chase Bank customers have pleaded guilty. Two of the defendants have been sentenced; three more await their fates.

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Both cases involved organized crews that targeted ATM vestibules at Chase Bank branches located throughout California, according to a statement from the California Attorney General's Office.

In both schemes, fraudsters replaced access-door card readers with manipulated devices that skimmed card information when cardholders swiped their cards to enter the vestibules, according to the statement. The crews also installed micro-cameras near ATMs contained within the vestibules to capture PINs as they were entered at the machines.

The San Luis Obispo County Superior Court has sentenced two defendants involved in the first case. Three other defendants in the second case await sentencing later this month.

Scam Targets 300 Chase Accounts

In the first case, Gnel Snapyan and his co-conspirator Gervork Aroutiounyan last September were charged with 28 counts of felony fraud. On March 1, both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit grand theft, computer access fraud, identity theft, second-degree burglary and forgery of access cards.

Snapyan was sentenced to 364 days in prison and five years probation. Aroutiounyan was sentenced to three years and eight months in prison. Both also were ordered to pay restitution to Chase.

Between July 2010 and February 2011, Snapyan fraudulently withdrew approximately $220,000 from more than 300 Chase Bank accounts, affecting accountholders in Santa Clara, Marin, Fresno and San Luis Obispo counties, according to the attorney general's statement.

Skimmers Hit 200 Chase Accounts

In the second case, Santiago Alcantar, Genea Antoine and Anthony Garcia, who in March were charged with 14 counts of felony fraud, last week pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit grand theft, computer access fraud, I.D. theft, second-degree burglary and forgery of access cards. Sentencing has been set for July 27, at which time Alcantar is expected to be sentenced to four years in prison and Antoine to two years. Garcia's sentence is not expected to exceed one year and four months.

Between October 2010 and February 2011, Alcantar, Antoine and Garcia targeted ATM vestibules in Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. The crew stole approximately $217,000 from more than 200 Chase accountholders, according to the statement.

"Technology benefits consumers, but also opens them up to risks that law enforcement must respond to," says Attorney General Kamala Harris in the statement. "ATM skimming cases like these are fast-growing, can lead to identity theft and significant financial losses."

Both cases were investigated by the Attorney General's eCrime Unit and local police departments.

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