MONTREAL — Officers with the economic crimes division of the Sûrété du Québec have broken up a fraud network operating out of Quebec and Ontario that stole more than $1 million from people using automatic teller machines.
Five search warrants were carried out in St-Sauveur, Piedmont and Toronto in the raids dubbed Operation Mongoose.
Police believe this fraud dates back to 2008 but the major investigation that led to the arrests began in Dec. 2013, said Sgt. Benoît Richard with the SQ.
The fraud involved the installation of a card reader at an ATM and also a small camera mounted over the machine to film clients keying in their PIN. The police estimate that 200 machines were altered during the duration of the fraud.
The card reader kept the information from the magnetic strip on the back of debit and client cards and with the PIN numbers, the group could clone cards and use them for unauthorized withdrawals.
Last December with complaints filed by various banks, the SQ moved in.
Five search warrants were carried out in homes and shops on Thursday morning resulting in four arrests and the seizure of cloning material and cash.
Thursday afternoon Martin Kouzov Antonov, 52, Vassilina Dimitrova, 48, Borislav Petrov, 53, and Iren Atanasov Vasilev, 42 will appear in court in St-Jérôme to face charges of data traffic, fraud, possession of cloning equipment and possession of data.
Police are looking for four men in the Toronto area in relations to this network.
Arrest warrants were issued for Stefan Stefanov, 45, Vencislav Gigov, 53, Valentin Borisov, 51, and Sirákov Konstantin, 39.
The Quebec victims of this fraud were from Montreal, Laval, the Laurentians, Montérégie and Gatineau. The Ontario victims were mainly in Toronto.
Richard said it is always prudent to shield the keypad with your hand or other means when punching in your PIN number.
ATM fraud network busted
Kick those damn commies out of the country and send them back to Russia where they belong!