CHICAGO (STMW) – A Bulgarian man arrested at his Trump Tower home in March pleaded guilty Tuesday to financial crimes for his role in phony credit, debit and gift card scam.
Dimitar Vangelov, 27, pleaded guilty to continuing a financial crimes enterprise and Cook County Judge Nicholas Ford sentenced him to four years in prison, followed by two years of supervised release, according to the Illinois Attorney General’s office.
U.S. Secret Service and DEA agents, along with Chicago Police Financial Crimes Unit officers arrested Vangelov on March 27 after executing a search warrant at his home in the 400 block of North Wabash Avenue, police said.
Investigators initially found eight credit, debit and gift cards with Vangelov’s name on them, but coded with someone else’s bank account information, authorities said.
The attorney general’s office later said investigators found a stash of hundreds of credit and gift cards encoded with stolen bank account numbers or credit card information from people overseas.
Investigators also recovered several skimming devices used to steal bank and credit card information, the release said.
Vangelov was accused of re-encoding the credit and gift cards with stolen foreign bank account numbers, and he was originally charged with identity theft.
“The extent of this scheme shows just how pervasive skimming operations are,” Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan said in a statement.
“The best way consumers can protect themselves is by monitoring their bank and credit card statements so that if they do find unauthorized charges, they can alert their bank immediately.”
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)