Sergeant Christopher Dixon and Officers Joseph Lavelle were making their usual rounds in the 62nd Precinct when they saw two men fidgeting with an ATM machine at TD Bank. What would have been a minor criminal mischief charge turned into a huge bust with hundreds of phony banking cards and identity theft technology seized.
Dixon and Lavelle were passing by the bank at 1630 Shore Parkway at 1:30am on October 15. They spotted Elvin Pineda, 25, and Luis Fernandez, 28, in the ATM using tools to remove parts of the machine.
They immediately cuffed the duo. On Fernandez, they found three counterfeit credit cards when he was searched.
The two were brought back to the precinct, where the command’s Field Intelligence Officer, Sergeant Jeremy Berson, and Sergeant Dennis Chan of the Financial Crimes Task Force began grilling the suspects.
They spilled the beans, telling cops they were removing parts of the machine to ship them to China to be duplicated with skimmer devices attached. Skimmer devices record an ATM or credit card’s data when it’s swiped through, and can be secretly installed over ATM machinery.
Pineda then spilled some more, saying he had more equipment at his Bay 47th Street home.
When officers searched the house they found an arsenal of identity theft and bank fraud equipment. The haul included:
- two embossers
- two re-encoders
- a laminator
- two color printers
- a tipper machine
- six laptops
- 127 blank Capital One credit cards
- 76 blank American Express credit cards
- 338 blank Citibank cards
- 200 blank credit cards
- 41 forged New York and out-of-state driver’s licenses
- A trove of computers, flash drives and other equipment
Blank credit cards can be encoded with the data obtained from skimmers, duplicating a credit or debit card, while items like the laminator could be used to create fake IDs.
Pineda was charged with criminal possession of a forgery device, possession of a forged instrument and possession of a skimmer device. Fernandez was charged with grand larceny, identity theft and possession of a forged instrument.
They both were also slapped with a criminal mischief charge for tinkering with the TD Bank ATM machine.