Man admits £3.25m ATM skimming swindle
A Romanian who used a cash machine skimming device to obtain 9,000 PINs worth £3.25 million was facing jail yesterday after admitting fraud.
Leonid Rotaru, 32, was caught red-handed as he returned to collect a sophisticated card reader from an ATM in Minehead, Somerset.
Police raided his home and found the details of 9,000 bank cards on his home computer which gave him the potential to steal £3.25 million, according to police.
Barry Douglas, from Avon and Somerset Police's economic crime unit, said he believed Rotaru was part of a well-organised criminal enterprise.
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"You can tell from the quality of the equipment that was attached to the ATM.
"You can tell from the amount of detail that was found on the computer," he said.
"This was well-organised, well-orchestrated and with good criminal connections."
Rotaru used a highly-sophisticated card reader which fitted over the card entry slot of ATM machines.
Users unwittingly passed their card through the reader, which recorded the details of their card and account.
A tiny pinhole camera hidden in the device then filmed the victim entering their PIN.
Police were called to a cash machine outside Tesco in Minehead after customers reported suspicions about the device.
Officers reviewed CCTV footage and spotted Rotaru fitting the card reader. He was arrested when he returned later in the day to retrieve it.
Rotaru, a Romanian national living in Bridgwater, Somerset, pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud and the possession of various skimming devices at Taunton Crown Court.
He will be sentenced at a date to be fixed.