TWO Bulgarian members of an international crime ring were jailed for seven years and fined BD5,000 (13,250) yesterday for their part in a hi-tech credit card racket.
They were arrested last year in Bahrain for targeting ATM machine users and stealing their personal information to withdraw thousands of dinars.
The High Criminal Court convicted them on charges of fraud, forgery and using forged credit cards to withdraw cash from ATM machines.
They installed a camera and an electronic card reader at an ATM machine, which allowed them to steal private information, make duplicate cards and steal money from accounts at several major banks.
It is understood the details were sent to an overseas party, who produced duplicate cards and delivered them back to the defendants in Bahrain. The pair made regular visits to Bahrain on tourist visas from September to December 2005, according to the police report.
However, they were arrested on January 25 last year near an Ahli United Bank ATM machine in Isa Town, after being caught on CCTV footage. They were always together when they withdrew money so that one could act as a lookout, according to the report.
Police who searched their rental car shortly after their arrest discovered electronic cameras, wires and batteries, which were confiscated by the court.
"We received reports from banks informing us that their CCTV had picked up images of two men installing a camera on top of an ATM machine to get details of credit cards when withdrawing money from their accounts," said a police officer in his report.
Both the defendants appeared in court yesterday to hear the verdict.
Judge Shaikh Mohammed bin Ali Al Khalifa ordered for them to be deported upon their release from prison.
The defendants successfully withdrew BD20,000 ($53,050.04) from the National Bank of Bahrain, BD442 from Standard Chartered Bank, in Sofia, Bulgaria, and BD9,881.186 from Ahli United Bank, according to court documents.