Prolific Cash Machine Scam Gang Jailed

Victims included people using ATMs in Greenford

An ATM with a scam device fitted. Picture: Hounslow Police


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Two men have been jailed for a spate of ATM scams across London and the Home Counties including some in Greenford.

They used a device known as a ‘cash trap’ to steal funds from 1 December 2021 to 1 February 2022. The device was inserted into a cash machine’s dispenser, meaning that when unsuspecting members of the public tried to withdraw money, the notes were trapped inside. The criminals would then return to the ATM and retrieve the device and the money.

Sebastian Vizir, 35, and Lucian Martinica, 29, both from Harrow, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal, following an investigation by the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), a specialist police unit that is funded by the banking and finance industry.

They were both sentenced on 16 June 2022 at the Inner London Crown Court to two years and three months in prison.

The pair targeted ATMs at locations across north and west London, Berkshire, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Surrey and Northampton, stealing over £20,000 in cash and causing £60,000 worth of damage to the machines when retrieving their victims’ money.

The fraud was spotted by bank staff and referred to the DCPCU to investigate. CCTV evidence from the ATMs identified Vizir and Martinica at a series of cash trapping ATM incidents.

Officers from the unit arrested them both while they were trying to steal money from a supermarket ATM in St Albans on 1 February 2021. A search of one of their home addresses uncovered a number of the devices in various states of preparation, along with the raw material and tools to make the cash traps.

Detective Chief Inspector Gary Robinson, head of the DCPCU, said, “The DCPCU is working tirelessly with the banking and finance industry to disrupt the organised criminal gangs behind fraud and protect the public.

“This sentencing is a warning to those who believe they can benefit financially from fraud that they will be caught and punished.”


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June 22, 2022

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