ATM fraudsters jailed

TWO men working for a Romanian gang who were caught after fitting a fake front to a cash machine, have received long jail sentences. The pair and a woman had fitted the front to an ATM outside Lloyds bank in Stevenage High Street on June 30, Luton Crown C

TWO men working for a Romanian gang who were caught after fitting a fake front to a cash machine, have received long jail sentences.

The pair and a woman had fitted the front to an ATM outside Lloyds bank in Stevenage High Street on June 30, Luton Crown Court was told.

A man who had just used the machine was suspicious and kept watch as the men fiddled with the machine and alerted police of their car registration number.

When they were stopped shortly after they had all the kit in the car for their scam, including a camera which was used to film people entering their PIN numbers, said prosecutor Deepak Kapur last week.


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Marcel Bujor, 30, and Viorel Militaru, 37, both from Ecclesbourne Gardens, Palmers Green, London, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the UK clearing banks.

Bujor was jailed for five years and six months and Militaru for four years and eight months. Both were recommended for deportation.

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Mr Kapur said the woman who was with them disappeared from a bail hostel and is thought to have left the country. Both men were here illegally and Bujor had been deported once before.

Judge Michael Kay QC said: "This sort of offence has become prevalent and the picture painted in the media is that it is often eastern European gangs behind it.

"I have no idea whether that is true but in the case before me it is quite plain that the two of you are illegal immigrants from Romania and were involved with an organised criminal gang.

"That gang supplied you with relatively sophisticated equipment to use for cloning people's credit and debit cards.

"There is public concern about this sort of behaviour because it undermines the banking system and causes great distress to many people. It is my duty to pass a strong and deterrent sentence."

Militaru told police that he came to Stevenage the week before to select the machine they would target. He said the device would have been in place for 30 minutes and then taken back to London where an accomplice would download the information and use it to obtain money from people's bank accounts.

Stephen Akinsanya, defending Bujor, a chef, said he only became aware that morning of what was going on. He thought the others were going to help him look for some of his lost family in Corby, but once in the car he learned of what they were going to do in Stevenage.

He said the woman, who had claimed she was only 15, was older and more heavily involved with the gang.

Claire Palmer, for Militaru, said he had only been in the country a short time and the woman had taken him in, rent free. Through her he met the boss of the gang who he described as 'a very dangerous man'.

He was then put under pressure to cooperate and felt he had no choice.

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