Prosecutors: Thieves Stole $2M After Planting Devices On Gas Pumps

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Thieves planted devices on gas pumps to copy credit and bank card numbers and used the data to steal more than $2 million in a scheme that hopscotched from the Southeast to New York City to the West Coast, prosecutors say.

Four suspects pleaded not guilty to money laundering and other charges Tuesday in Manhattan. Nine others were being arrested. A lawyer for accused ringleader Davit Kudugulyan declined to comment.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said the group somehow installed devices that captured card and PIN numbers inside pumps at gas stations in Georgia, South Carolina and Texas.

Prosecutors say the scammers then forged new cards, withdrew cash from Manhattan ATMs, deposited it in bank accounts and withdrew it again from banks in California and Nevada.

Kudugulyan; Garegin Spartalyan, 40; Aram Martirosian, 34; and Hayk Dzhandzhapanyan, 40, are charged in a 426-count indictment with money laundering, criminal possession of stolen property, grand larceny, criminal possession of a forgery device and criminal possession of forged instruments.

“By using skimming devices planted inside gas station pumps, these defendants are accused of fueling the fastest growing crime in the country,” Vance said in a news release. “Cybercriminals and identity thieves are not limited to any geographic region, working throughout the world behind computers.”

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