Man jailed for role in bank machine scam which involved distraction of victims

A man has been jailed for his part in a bank machine scam that involved distracting elderly victims before taking their cash.

Man jailed for role in bank machine scam which involved distraction of victims

By Sonya McLean

A man has been jailed for his part in a bank machine scam that involved distracting elderly victims before taking their cash.

Costel Tudor (44), a Romanian national, enlisted the help of two females who distracted ATM users after they had entered their PIN and were waiting on the cash.

One woman would then tap the person on the shoulder and indicate that they had dropped €20.

While the person's attention was drawn to the cash on the ground, the second female, who had observed the victim's PIN, would then switch the person's bank card with another.

The victim's bank card would then be passed back to Tudor who would almost immediately use it to withdraw cash.

Tudor, who is from Bucharest, Romania was sent forward to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on signed pleas of guilty from the District Court. There were two charges of stealing ATM cards and two charges of stealing cash from Bank of Ireland in Stillorgan Shopping Centre on April 27, 2015 and Permanent TSB on Main Street, Dundrum on November 7, 2015.

Garda Stephen Dunican told Dara Hayes BL prosecuting, that Tudor is currently serving a sentence for the exact same offences carried out in October 2015 and May 2017 and is due for release next April. He also has convictions for fraud and theft from the Netherlands, Finland, England and Germany.

Judge Melanie Greally said the two women were “instrumental in distracting the victims” before she noted that Tudor was identified through CCTV footage located close to the ATMs.

She said his extensive record of convictions was an aggravating factor before she sentenced Tudor to two and half years in prison.

Judge Greally suspended the final 18 months on Tudor's undertaking that he would leave Ireland within seven days of his release from prison and not return here for 10 years.

Gda Dunican said one victim was aged 65 while the other was in his eighties. One man had €240 taken from his account and the other had €500 taken from his. The banks reimbursed both victims.

Both men immediately cancelled their cards when they noticed that it had been switched but the cash had already been withdrawn.

Tudor was identified through CCTV footage and arrested but nothing came out of his subsequent interview with gardaí.

Justin McQaude BL, defending said Tudor had been in custody since June last year and had not seen his seven year old daughter since then.

Counsel said his client was “far from home and isolated”. He submitted that his pleas of guilty would have been a relief to the injured parties.

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