A MOLDOVAN man who admitted manufacturing devices at his Limerick home to skim ATM cards was sentenced to five years in prison after a judge said his actions went “to the heart” of the banking system.
Vitalli Pascari, 34, of River Road, Rhebogue pleaded guilty at Limerick Circuit to a total of seven charges under the Theft and Fraud Offences Act.
The offences included possession of several gift cards and loyalty cards which had been encoded with information from ATM cards which had been skimmed.
The married father-of-two was arrested in February of last year, after gardai were alerted to a suspicious package which was posted to him from Hong Kong.
During a sentencing hearing, Det Garda Brendan Stokes said the package was labelled as containing “anti-skimming devices”.
Det Garda Stokes said when gardai searched Pascari’s home they found a hi-tech workshop in the box room.
An array of equipment and tools were recovered including computers, mobile phones, mini cameras, card scanners and modified parts for a variety of ATM machines.
John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, said Pascari would advertise his services on a website and that people would purchase the devices from him.
Mr O’Sullivan said the defendant altered the components by installing cameras and card scanners before sending them to his clients.
He said he was not personally involved in the placing of the devices on ATM machines or the recording of the information from cardholders.
Imposing sentence, Judge Carroll Moran said Pascari’s actions went “to the heart of the banking system” and had the potential to undermine a system, which, he said, is used almost universally in the developed world.
The judge said Pascari was “clearly brilliant” and that he has an advanced understanding of mathematics.
He noted that the defendant was not a “Mr Big” but he said he was running an “elaborate” operation with “amazing sophistication”.
He imposed a five year prison sentence, which he backdated to February of last year.
*For a detailed report read this weekend’s Limerick Leader, print edition