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Trio accused of rigging ATMs to steal customer information

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Three men from Canada are accused of robbing money from automated teller machines by stealing information from legitimate customers' cash cards, the Manhattan District Attorney said on Wednesday.

The accused men allegedly outfitted ATMs with equipment that could record users' banking information and then used it to make their own illegal withdrawals, District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement.

They allegedly stole information from nearly 1,500 people's cards and made off with more than $285,000 in fraudulent transactions, he said.

The trio used ATM "skimming" devices, which consisted of a green plastic lip that fit over the slot where users dip their ATM cards and a hidden video camera, the prosecutor said.

The plastic lip could read a card's magnetic stripes and the hidden camera could record the victim's personal identification numbers, he said.

Nikolai Ivanov, 31, Dimitar Stamatov, 28, and Iordan Ivanov, 24, are charged with fraud, burglary, larceny and other charges in an 81-count indictment. The two Ivanovs are brothers.

They allegedly planted eleven skimming devices at four ATMs near Union Square in Manhattan and used stolen data in fraudulent transactions in Arizona, Illinois and several locations in Canada, the prosecutor said.

Nikolai Ivanov and Stamatov were arrested in May as they were allegedly retrieving a skimming device from a bank branch on Broadway and have been in custody since then, Vance said.

Iordan Ivanov is believed to be in Canada, and the District Attorney's office is working with the U.S. Department of Justice to seek his extradition.

The Ivanov brothers are naturalized Canadian citizens, and Stamatov is a Canadian legal permanent resident. Most of the stolen money was shipped to the men's native Bulgaria, prosecutors said.

(Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by Greg McCune)

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