An eastern European man caught attempting to bring ATM skimming equipment into the country through Dublin Airport has been given a 15-month prison sentence.
Pavel Todorov (aged 29) had fallen into financial difficulties after losing his job a week before the offence and was to be paid €3,000 on his return to Sofia, Bulgaria. The married father-of-one had worked in a bakery and a shop selling construction goods.
Todorov, with an address c/o Cloverhill Prison, has been in custody since his arrest. He has no ties to Ireland, no one to visit him and nowhere to reside. He pleaded guilty to possession of a skimming device at Dublin Airport on January 9, 2011.
Garda Mark Reay told Ms Gerardine Small BL, prosecuting at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, that a customs officer working at the airport stopped Todorov going through the green channel and after X-raying his bag found a sealed black box. Todorov had travelled on a flight from Budapest to Dublin.
The customs officer opened it and found pieces of equipment he considered was for skimming credit cards from ATMs.
Todorov, who has little English, initially told gardaí when interviewed that he had come to Ireland to meet a friend he knew through the internet but later admitted he was bringing equipment into Ireland for a third party for a cash reward.
He said he had been given the box by an unknown person in Sofia and was supposed to meet someone at Dublin Airport to give it to them. He was to receive €3,000 on his return to Sofia.
Garda Reay said Todorov had two previous road traffic convictions outside Ireland.
Mr John Fitzgerald BL, defending, said Todorov had educational qualifications in Sofia as well as a work history, but lost his job a week before and was approached by a person to make €3,000 by bringing these articles to Ireland.
Mr Fitzgerald asked Judge Patrick McCartan to consider imposing a suspended sentence on condition he return to where he had come from and not return.
Judge McCartan said Todorov was a resourceful young man who had lent himself willingly to this offence. He imposed a 15-month sentence dated from when he went into custody.