Jail for man with card-skimming equipment

A MAN who travelled to Jersey with sophisticated equipment for stealing debit and credit card information from ATMs, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Royal Court building
Royal Court building

Romanian national Raul Calin Pintean will also be deported at the end of his sentence.

The Royal Court heard that the 24-year-old travelled to Jersey with a Hungarian friend on the Condor Clipper from Portsmouth on 22 June, claiming he was coming for a short-break holiday of five days.

Customs officers searched the blue Peugeot 407 and found a variety of equipment for ‘card skimming’ within it.

Attorney General Robert MacRae told the court the equipment – which included a hand-made metal plate in the shape of a long credit card with a handle and magnetic strip glued on the end of it, cards with sandpaper attached to one side, a laptop, cables and three cloned debit cards issued in Saudi Arabia, Germany and the US – did not have other uses.

The Crown had the items forensically examined by an officer from London’s Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit.

DS Russell Chinn provided a detailed analysis of the equipment and how it was used for stealing card information from ATMs.

‘I am unaware of the exact circumstances of the finding of this equipment but I am in no doubt that it is solely for the use of ATM skimming, it had no other plausible use,’ DS Chinn said in his reports read out in court.

The Attorney General also said SnapChat conversations with a ‘Clau B’ and ‘Cartis’ from Pintean’s iPhone which were translated from Romanian.

Some messages referred to various ATMs.

Another said: ‘Boss, we have 790 + 540 from the last two which you gave us.’

Mr MacRae asked that the court consider a sentence of two years for the two charges of ‘going equipped’ to which Pintean pleaded guilty.

‘He was found in possession of cloned cards and highly complex equipment for skimming card data from ATMs,’ the Attorney General said. ‘This was a well-planned operation.’

Advocate Michael Haines, defending, said the former construction worker brought himself to the attention of Customs officers at the port after he admitted he was in possession of cannabis.

This admission, Mr Haines contended, led to the search of the car.

He added that the Crown’s own expert, DS Chinn, said that Pintean only had possession of part of the equipment needed to skim card details – two key pieces were missing.

Further, Mr Haines said Pintean’s offences ‘posed no threat to the finance centre of Jersey’ or the Island’s ‘reputation’.

Pintean has been in La Moye prison for the past 144 days.

On sentencing, Deputy Bailiff Tim Le Cocq noted the guilty pleas were made late in the day and said Pintean’s actions were clearly pre-planned.

‘It is clear you brought items to the Island by which would could perpetrate a fraud,’ he said.

The Deputy Bailiff – who was sitting with Jurats Charled Blampied and Jane Sparrow – handed down a sentence of 18 months in prison.

The deportation order, which was not opposed, will come into effect once the prison term has been satisfied.

Deputy Bailiff Tim Le Cocq also ordered that all the equipment related to card skimming be destroyed.

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