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ATM skimmers: Local case spotlights new focus from Secret Service and harsher Ohio law

The federal sentencing of three Brazilian men and guilty plea of a fourth for possessing sophisticated ATM skimming equipment spotlights a crime of wide concern, according to a local Secret Service agent.

All four defendants pleaded guilty and three recently were sentenced to three years in prison for conspiracy to defraud the United States.

“The placement of skimmers on gas pumps and ATMs requires the vigilance of law enforcement, the public and financial institutions across America,” said Kevin Dye, Resident Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service office in Dayton. “The significance of this issue has not gone unnoticed.”

RELATED: 4 Brazilian men federally indicted for ATM skimmer, 400 credit cards

“In October 2018, the Ohio Legislature and Gov. Kasich authorized a new criminal law empowering state law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to pursue felony charges against criminals committing these crimes.”

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On Nov. 30, Leonardo Wolf Targino, 20, and Ricardo Carlos De Andrade, 39, each were sentenced to three years in federal prisons. Diego M. DaCosta, 32, was sentenced Nov. 2 to three years in a federal prison. All must serve five years’ of post-release control after their release.

Also on Nov. 30, Sandro Trancoso Da Silva reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors. His sentencing is Jan. 23.

RELATED: Grand jury to hear cases against ATM skimmers

All four were indicted after a criminal complaint said Dayton-area law enforcement saw the defendants conducting suspicious activity and initiated more surveillance in the Miller Lane area.

The four were found with three laptop computers, a magnetic stripe credit card encoder and more than 400 counterfeit credit cards, according to court documents.

The indictment shows the men rented vehicles in Florida and traveled throughout various states including North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Illinois and Michigan.

RELATED: Feds seize ATM skimmer, 400 fake credit cards, charge 4 Brazilian men

“These crimes often involve international organized groups and have no borders,” Dye said. “The United States Secret Service will continue our mission of protecting the financial infrastructure of the United States by coordinating investigative efforts with our law enforcement partners in pursuing suspects worldwide.”

More than half of the 80-plus credit card skimmers found in Ohio’s gas pumps in a three-year period were in southwest Ohio, including four discovered in the summer of 2017 in Montgomery County and one in Greene County.

RELATED: Alarm over credit card skimmers prompts new county initiative

The Montgomery County Auditor’s Office efforts to stop skimmers included the website McOhio.org/stopskimmers. Skimmers can read credit and debit card numbers as well as PIN numbers for the purpose of identity theft.

As to the three-year prison terms handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Rose, Dye said the “sentencings reflect our commitment.”

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