Authorities have nabbed a New York-based quartet of scammers who masterminded a multimillion-dollar identity theft and money laundering scheme using credit card skimmers.
Ring leader Davit Kudugulyan, 45, pleaded guilty to second-degree money laundering in New York State Supreme Court in June 2015. He was sentenced to one to three years in prison and a restitution payment of $750,000 for orchestrating the multi-state scam.
Kudugulyan and three separately convicted codefendants used skimming devices to wirelessly scan and steal credit card details from gas station users in Georgia, South Carolina and Texas. According to prosecutors, the victims were unable to detect the Bluetooth-enabled devices which were installed inside the pumps at several gas stations.
The defendants then used the scanned data to withdraw money from various Manhattan ATMs, usually taking out less than $10,000 in an attempt to avoid drawing attention to the scheme. They then deposited the cash into newly opened bank accounts in New York and later withdrew it at banks in other states. The group laundered more than $2 million between March 2012 and 2013.
In addition to the four main ring organizers, eight other codefendants have been convicted in relation to the crime. Two of Kudugulyan’s codefendants were sentenced to two to six years behind bars after pleading guilty to second-degree money laundering in December 2014. The fourth codefendant was sentenced to five years’ probation in January for the same charge.