ARIMA – A Mexican and a Venezuelan have been sentenced to two years’ hard labour for card skimming in Trinidad.
Mexican national Francisco Javier Gil Rivera, 27, and Venezuelan national Simon Eduardo Farias Romero, 33, both pleaded guilty to two counts of trafficking in counterfeit cards and one count of possession of card making equipment before Magistrate Aden Stroude in the Arima First Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
They were sentenced to two years’ hard labour after pleading guilty to charges arising from an automatic teller machine (ATM) rigging incident at Trincity Mall on Sunday.
On Sunday, officers attached to the Fraud Squad ATM Task Force led by acting Cpl Nowbutt and under the supervision of ASP Julien were on ATM patrol and surveillance duties in the Northern Division when based on intelligence received, they paid particular attention to the Scotiabank ATM at Trincity mall.
The officers observed the machine being rigged with a grey panel affixed to the top of the screen of the ATM.
Later around 4.30 p.m., the officers saw the two accused men approach the machine and remove the device.
The officers apprehended both men and after a search on Gil Rivera found a grey plastic panel containing batteries, electrical circuits, a memory card, a pinhole camera and 13 cards bearing magnetic strips.
Farias Romero had seven cards bearing magnetic strips.
A search warrant was executed at a house in Petit Valley where both suspects resided and a further fourteen 14 cards were found and seized. These cards were also found to contain banking information of customers.
The two are also expected to appear before a Port-of-Spain magistrate on Friday to answer related charges.