published Saturday, November 10th, 2012

Man gets 3 years for skimming $72,000 from area ATMs

  • photo
    Atanas Georgiev, 28, left, and Chris Dragiev, 27, were arrested in Nashville after a card skimmer was installed on an ATM, Dalton police believe the men are involved in a similar incident at a local Regions Bank.

An Atlanta man who "skimmed" $72,000 from Regions Bank ATM machines has been sentenced to three years and four months in federal prison.

Atanas Georgiev, 29, admitted that he and Chris Dragiev, 28, of Kennesaw, Ga., used counterfeit ATM cards to skim personal identification numbers of bank customers in East Ridge as well as in North Carolina and South Carolina, according to a release from U.S. Attorney Bill Killian's office.

Investigators caught Georgiev in Nashville in October 2011 with 39 counterfeit cards and nearly $4,000 in cash, according to the release.

Dragiev remains at large. He is described as a white male, about 6 feet tall and weighing 188 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

"Financial fraud occurs too often in our society," Killian said in the release. "Whether it is a credit, debit or ATM card, or in another form, the U.S. attorney's office will actively pursue and prosecute those who violate federal criminal law." He said anyone with knowledge of such fraud should report it to the Secret Service or the FBI.

The pair used blank Walmart gift cards recoded with personal bank information to extract the cash from skimmed accounts. They stole $72,480 over four days using the cards, according to the release.

Police with departments in Chattanooga, East Ridge, Nashville and Dalton, Ga., and agents with the U.S. Secret Service worked on the investigation.

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