Thursday, April 18, 2024

Bulgarian visitor jailed after raids on cash machines

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HAMILTON, Bermuda – A 37-year-old Bulgarian national has been jailed for two years by a Supreme Court judge for conspiracy to commit theft by rigging cash dispensers in the island.

Danail Damov was also sentenced to six months for damaging an ATM in the community of Collector’s Hill and four months for damaging another at Paget Plaza.

Prosecutor Alan Richards said Damov came to Bermuda as a visitor from Bulgaria to carry out a “sophisticated criminal enterprise” that required “understanding and determination”.

Richards said the crimes spanned a “significant” period of time and involved two separate visits to the island for the “purpose of fraud”.

He added that “acts of this nature appear sadly to be increasing” and that society needed to be protected from like-minded individuals.

The court heard that Damov arrived in September 2016 and was caught on closed-circuit television tampering with a Butterfield Bank ATM at Collector’s Hill with another man.

Butterfield’s head of electronic banking was alerted to fraudulent transactions on the accounts of three customers, who had used the ATM, in December 2016.

Cash was later withdrawn in the Dominican Republic. The bank machine was inspected and two small drill holes were found in the card reader.

Damov returned to Bermuda on October 10, 2017 and a skimming device was found at the Paget Plaza ATM three days later.

The court was told it cost the bank US$535 to repair the ATMs and replace the test card. It cost another $US1 000 to replace customer’s cards.

Damov, represented by lawyer Richard Horseman, admitted the three offences, which took place between September 1, 2016, and October 21, 2017, in Supreme Court on April 13.

Damov apologised to the court on Friday when he appeared for sentence and said he had made a “big mistake” and was “deeply sorry”.

He added that he had spent the past six months in custody and that he would never “do this again”.

Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons said there was obvious planning involved in the offences, which also required sophisticated equipment. (CMC)

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