Man gets jail for ATM ‘transaction reversal fraud’

by Gazette Reporter
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By Jessica Magee

A man has been sentenced to two years and nine months in prison for stealing money from ATMs across Dublin over a four-day period in January 2020.

Ovidiu Raducanu (38) engaged in what’s known as “transaction reversal fraud” (TRF) to steal over €8,500 from eleven different AIB bank machines.

Raducanu, with an address at Pinebrook Lawn, Huntstown, Dublin 15, pleaded guilty to 32 offences in total, including 15 of theft, seven of attempted theft and 10 of criminal damage, on dates between January 6 and 10, 2020.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heardthat Raducanu caused €5,800 worth of damage to the ATM machines while carrying out the frauds.

AIB never recovered the monies withdrawn from the machines and remains at a total loss of €14,343, including the thefts and the criminal damage costs, the court heard.

An investigating garda told Fiona Crawford BL, prosecuting, that the process of transaction reversal fraud involves using a genuine bank card in an ATM machine to withdraw a very small amount of money.

A trapping device is then placed in the money slot while the bank card is removed and a gift card or loyalty card is inserted, the court heard.

A second transaction is then made for the highest possible amount that can be withdrawn, and this money comes down into the slot where it is manually removed.

The trapping device triggers a mechanism in the machine that detects an error in the card slot and recredits the bank account with the money that has been withdrawn.

Passing sentence, Judge Orla Crowe said it was a “canny scheme” as it looks on someone’s bank account statement that money has been debited and then re-credited.

Judge Crowe said it was an aggravating factor in the case that Raducanu absconded to the UK after he was arrested, charged and bailed.

She set a headline sentence of three and a half years but reduced this to two years and nine months, backdated to April 12, 2022.

The court heard that gardaí began an investigation after AIB reported alleged thefts and criminal damage at eleven of their ATMs across Dublin, including in Sandymount, Firhouse, Killiney and Rathfarnham.

CCTV revealed two men going to ATM machines, and this was matched to GPS records for rented Go-Cars used by the men to travel between the bank machines.

Gardaí found various cards left inside the machines, which were traced to bank accounts in Abu Dhabi and to a Revolut account.

A co-accused in the case has already been sentenced, the court heard.

Raducanu has 55 previous convictions, of which 51 relate to offences committed in Ireland, including burglary, assault causing harm, possessing controlled substances and road traffic.

The court heard that after he fled to the UK, Raducanu committed theft offences for which he was sentenced to four years in prison.

Gardaí liaised with police in the UK to issue a European Arrest Warrant, and Raducanu was returned to Ireland on the expiry of his jail sentence in the UK.

David Fleming BL, defending, said Raducanu had a “chequered work history” but has had some employment with manual handling and labouring.

Mr Fleming said that Raducanu was married with three children and that he has had very little relationship with his children because of his own deeds.

The court heard Raducanu missed his mother’s funeral when he was in prison in the UK.

Mr Fleming said that although his client has struggled with drug addiction in the past, he claims that he is now clean.

Judge Crowe noted from a letter submitted by Raducanu’s wife that life has been very difficult for her raising three children without any support.

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