Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of NIKOLAI IVANOV, 31, DIMITAR STAMATOV, 28, and IORDAN IVANOV, 24, for using illegal “skimming” devices planted on ATM machines in Manhattan to steal the debit card numbers of nearly 1,500 individuals, and then exploiting the stolen debit card numbers to make more than $285,000 in fraudulent transactions. All three defendants are charged with Scheme to Defraud, Burglary, Criminal Possession of Forgery Devices, Grand Larceny, and Petit Larceny; NIKOLAI IVANOV and STAMATOV are additionally charged with Identity Theft.
“These defendants traveled to New York from Canada to rip off hundreds of Manhattan residents and visitors who did no more than use ATM machines,” said District Attorney Vance. “In order to thwart ATM skimming operations, it is critical not only for law enforcement and financial institutions to take proactive investigative measures, but also to raise awareness among consumers about the practice of ATM skimming.”
District Attorney Vance recommended that ATM users take the following simple steps to avoid being skimmed:
A compromised ATM with a green plastic skimmer lip on the top right, and a hidden camera on the bottom, to the left of the keypad.
A close-up of the hidden camera with a pinhole lens, and the green plastic skimmer lip.
A still shot from the hidden camera that recorded a customer inserting a PIN number.
According to documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court, the defendants used pre-assembled ATM “skimming” devices, which consisted of a green plastic lip that fit over the slot where users dip their ATM cards, and a hidden video camera. The plastic lip intercepted the victims’ debit card numbers by reading the card’s magnetic stripe at the beginning of the ATM transaction, while the hidden video camera recorded the victims’ entry of PIN numbers. By matching the stolen debit card numbers with the PIN entries, the defendants were able to gain access to the bank accounts of more than 1,490 victims, and make hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of fraudulent transactions, including cash withdrawals at other ATMs and point-of-sale merchant purchases.
During a five-day skimming spree in January 2011 that is charged in the indictment, NIKOLAI IVANOV and STAMATOV are accused of stealing data from more than 1,100 ATM cards. During that period, these two defendants entered the United States from Quebec, Canada, and drove to Manhattan, where they planted eleven different skimming devices at four different ATMs within a mile radius of Union Square. The stolen debit cards were used in fraudulent transactions worth more than $264,000 in the weeks that followed in Arizona, Illinois, and several locations in Canada. Four months later, in mid-May, NIKOLAI IVANOV and STAMATOV, joined by NIKOLAI’s brother IORDAN IVANOV, returned from Canada to New York to commit additional ATM skimming, resulting in more than $20,000 in fraud.
On May 24, 2011, members of the NYPD Identity Theft Squad arrested NIKOLAI IVANOV and STAMATOV as the defendants retrieved a skimming device from a bank branch at 785 Broadway. IORDAN IVANOV had returned to Canada that morning, and was not arrested. The IVANOV brothers are naturalized Canadian citizens, and STAMATOV is a legal permanent resident of Canada; the investigation has revealed that most of the stolen funds were sent by Western Union to the defendants’ native Bulgaria. NIKOLAI IVANOV AND STAMATOV were charged in May 2011 in a three-count indictment that is superseded by today’s 81-count indictment, and have been in custody since their arrest on $500,000 bail.
The New York County District Attorney’s Office is working with the United States Department of Justice to seek extradition of IORDAN IVANOV, who is believed to be at large in Canada at present.
Assistant District Attorney Ehren Reynolds is handling the prosecution of the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney David Szuchman, Chief of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Patricia O’Connor, Deputy Chief of the Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau. Investigative Analyst Bret Rubin assisted in the investigation.
District Attorney Vance also thanked the Identity Theft Squad of the New York City Police Department, particularly lead investigator Detective Robert Cimino, as well as the Credit Card Squad of the New York Field Office of the United States Secret Service, particularly lead investigator Special Agent Eric Friedman.
District Attorney Vance also thanked fraud analysis specialists from Chase Bank for their assistance in the investigation.
NIKOLAI IVANOV, D.O.B. 9/25/80
DIMITAR STAMATOV, D.O.B. 12/11/82
IORDAN IVANOV, D.O.B. 8/14/87