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.


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: AUTRY, JERMEKA RENEE  5141 WOODLIN VIEW CIR CHATTANOOGA, 37410  Age at Arrest: 24 years old Arresting Agency: East Ridge Booked for Previous Charges or Other Reason(s) --- BATY, JASON BRENT  1071 RAVEN CLIFF RD GRAYSVILLE, 37338  Age at Arrest: 41 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Consumer Protection Bill Sponsored By Rep. Travis Passes House Unanimously

Legislation sponsored by Rep. Ron Travis (R-Dayton) that strengthens Tennessee’s consumer protection laws was approved.   House Bill 1879,  which passed by a 91-0 vote tally, prohibits members of the health care industry from soliciting business from victims of accidents or natural disasters for a period of 30 days following an incident. The measure exempts ... (click for more)

Why Are Pictures Of Our President And Vice President Not Hanging At Our Federal Courthouse?

I would like to know why the pictures of our President and Vice President have not been hung in our Federal Courthouse. They have been approved by the White House. Every time I call they tell me they are on order. Tommy Fryar (click for more)

Roy Exum: Battling The Beggars

The revelation that Chattanooga Police Chief David Roddy wants to crack down on the city’s panhandlers is every bit as refreshing as the beautiful jonquils now bursting forth across our city. In a recent poll on, over 80 percent of those who live here indicated they are scared to go downtown and that is inexcusable. This is no way for anyone to live. But I can ... (click for more)

Vols Suffer Heartbreaking Loss To Loyola, 63-62

No. 3 seed Tennessee's season came to an end on Saturday night as the Vols suffered a heartbreaking loss to 11th-seeded Loyola-Chicago, 63-62, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.   The Vols (26-9) made one last push at the end of the game, using an 8-0 run to take a 62-61 lead with 20 seconds remaining in the game, capped off by a three-point play from SEC Player ... (click for more)

UTC's Carr Run at NCAAs Ends in the Blood Round

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior Bryce Carr's run at the NCAA Championships ended tonight in the blood round at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.  Carr fell to Cornell's Max Dean in the final match of his career. Carr was the aggressor early, with two takedowns in the first period.  He opened up a 4-2 lead after the first period, but could not put ... (click for more)