ATM Scammer gets suspended sentence

by Gazette Reporter

A Portuguese national who “beat the system” to purchase items with debit cards without knowing their PIN numbers has been spared jail.

Ricardo De Freitas Correia, 34, with an address at The Old Forge, Ballycoolin Road, Dublin 15, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to deception at TK Maxx, Blanchardstown Retail Park on May 1, 2019.

He also pleaded guilty to three counts of stealing property from stores in Clondalkin, Swords and Tallaght on April 30, 2019 and May 1, 2019.

Garda Christopher Ward said Coreia, who had 29 previous convictions, had purchased a watch in TK Maxx by using a debit card. Correia removed the card when the machine told him not to, leading to the card being declined.

The machine would then prompt for the card to be swiped, which the accused did and then signed the receipt, avoiding the need to enter a PIN for the card which he did not know.

Correia used the same method to purchase video games, perfume and an electric toothbrush at stores in Clondalkin, Swords and Tallaght respectively. The total value of all items he acquired was around €400.

Judge Elma Sheahan imposed a 30-month suspended sentence.

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