Two Dublin residents who are believed to be members of a Romanian organized cybercrime gang were imprisoned in Ireland today for credit card fraud.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Daniel Almajanu and Albert Gimy Linul were “considered to be members” of a Romanian criminal gang that had made millions of dollars by running an extensive card-skimming operation in the UK.
Gang members stole victims’ credit card information by installing a “deep insert skimmer” on various HSBC ATM outlets. The skimmers read the details of each card as it was inserted and fed the stolen data back to the gang.
Thirty-five-year-old Almajanu used the stolen data and a card reader/writer machine to create clones of the compromised credit cards. The cloned cards were then passed to 29-year-old Linul, who used them to buy items.
On multiple occasions Linul bought cartons of cigarettes from several newsagents around Dublin, which were then sold on for profit.
Judge Melanie Greally said evidence submitted to the court showed that the offenses committed by the two men “represent an offshoot of an organized and sophisticated international fraud.”
Greally said that Almajanu had played a “pivotal organizational role” in the scam and was responsible for recruiting Linul into the operation.
Both men were arrested in February 2020 after gardaí noticed them acting suspiciously in Dublin’s Temple Bar. Almajanu had five fake cards in his possession while Linul had sixty cloned cards hidden in his sock.
A search of Linul’s Prussia Street residence revealed a credit card reader/writer and a laptop containing the details of over a thousand credit cards from which Almajanu and Linul could have stolen over $6m.
Almajanu, who has four convictions in Romania and was previously deported from the UK after serving two years in prison there for fraud, was sentenced to four years and four months in prison by Greally. The judge sentenced Linul to three years in prison.
The Garda National Economic Crime Bureau said Almajanu was the target of law enforcement investigations in Belgium, the UK, and Romania and was the focus of Europol and Interpol.