Man Charged In Bank Skimmer Case Gets 38-Month Federal Sentence; Must Repay Regions Bank $72,480

Friday, November 9, 2012
Atanas G. Georgiev
Atanas G. Georgiev

One of two men involved in the placement of a bank card “skimmer” at Regions Banks in Dalton and East Ridge last year, was sentenced Thursday to serve 38 months in federal prison and ordered to repay the bank $72,480.

 Atanas G. Georgiev, 29, of 8193 Brookwood Valley Circle, Atlanta, appeared before Judge Curtis Collier. He remains free on bond, but must report to prison on Dec. 10.

The other man, Chris Svetlinov Dragiev, 28, of Kennesaw, Ga., was arrested on state charges and is now a fugitive after making bond. Both men are natives of Bulgaria, but are American citizens.

They were arrested shortly after another skimmer device was placed on an ATM at another bank in Nashville.

Authorities said the skimmers allowed the pair to obtain magnetic strip account information on Regions customers. Also, a small camera allowed them access to customer PIN numbers.

They used blank Walmart gift cards that were recoded with the customer account information and could be used to take money from customer accountants at ATMs.

Authorities said the pair traveled to several states, including Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, getting money from ATMs.  

Authorities who had been searching for the pair finally detected them at an ATM at Dickerson Pike in the Nashville area.

When investigators started checking video feeds from other ATMs nearby, they saw the suspects covering an ATM camera with a sticky note at approximately 4:30 p.m. They made contact with metro Nashville Police Department who pulled over the suspects’ vehicle, a silver Volkswagen Tourag, near Opryland shortly afterward.

The suspects had the keys to an Audi in the car with them, and investigators believe that they changed cars after using a red Audi in the Dalton incident.

Authorities said the skimmer device was placed at the East Ridge Regions Bank ATM in late September or early October 2011.

Secret Service Agent Douglas Dale said the total take from about 75 customers was computed to be $75,130 from customers. He said some customers apparently did not report their losses to the bank or ask for a refund.

He said when they were arrested, hats and sunglasses were found in the vehicle. He said they wore those to help disguise themselves.

They also had 39 recoded Walmart gift cards with them.

The agent said a GPS device found with them was analyzed and the route matched that where ATMs had been used to withdraw money from the accounts of the customers.

Gregg Sullivan prosecuted the case for the government. 

U.S. Attorney Bill Killian said, “Financial fraud occurs too often in our society. Whether it is a credit, debit or ATM card, or in another form, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will actively pursue and prosecute those who violate federal criminal law. Knowledge of fraud of this nature should be reported to the Secret Service or the FBI.”

The conviction is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service, Chattanooga Police Department, East Ridge Police Department, Metro Nashville Police Department, and Dalton, Ga., Police Department.

 


New Hiener Book Of Historic Chattanooga Photos Available At Zarzours

The new Paul Hiener Historic Chattanooga Photos book published by Chattanoogan.com is available at Zarzours Restaurant. Zarzours is located on the Southside on Rossville Avenue behind the Main Street Fire Hall #1. Mr. Hiener, a longtime Chattanooga printer and lifelong resident, collected over 3,000 historic pictures of his beloved hometown. He made some of the photos ... (click for more)

City Council Approves Tax Abatement For Standard Coosa Thatcher Loft Project

The City Council on Tuesday night approved a tax abatement for a loft project at the old Standard Coosa Thatcher plant in Ridgedale. Officials said that 100 percent of the units will be affordable housing. A project for the dilapidated site has long been on the drawing board. There would be 170 units at the 1700 and 1800 block of Watkins Street.   (click for more)

An Open Letter To Tennessee Electors Of The President - And Response (3)

This an open letter to the following people who are Tennessee's presidential electors this year: Joey Jacobs (Brentwood), Beth Scott Clayton Amos (Nashville), Jason Mumpower (Bristol), Susan Mills (Maryville), Liz Holiway (Harriman), Lynne Davis (Lascassas), Tom Lawless (Nashville), Mike Callahan (Monterey), Pat Allen (Clarksville), Shannon Haynes (Alamo), and Drew Daniel (Memphis).  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: You Can’t Sue You

The Hamilton County School Board will convene an hour earlier tomorrow to discuss “facilities” and the question of the hour is “Which ones?” Several communities are actively studying pulling away from the county’s Department of Education and the stew is thickening by the day. Now comes the revelation that school board attorney Scott Bennett has sent an email to the town of Signal ... (click for more)

Top-Ranked Bradley Uses Fast Start To Beat Baylor

There’s no question that the Bradley Bears are ranked first in the initial state wrestling poll and they proved they deserve to be in that top spot following a 43-30 victory over the Baylor Red Raiders. Baylor is ranked fourth in that first poll and will surely be a force to be reckoned with in Division II as the season progresses, but the Bears are head and shoulders ahead after ... (click for more)

Run-And-Gun Tyner Shoots Down Red Bank 71-33

Tyner opponents better batten down the hatches if the Rams ever iron out their half-court offensive struggles. Even without that weapon showing up Tuesday night, the Rams showed they have a run-and-gun assault that can bury an opponent under an avalanche of points. And their defense is as tenacious as ever. Tyner outscored Red Bank 15-0 to start the second quarter ... (click for more)