Jail for Bulgarian man who tried to withdraw cash from ATMs with cloned cards

Pavlov Nedyalko Momchilov was jailed for a year for trying to use cloned ATM cards to illegally withdraw money.
Pavlov Nedyalko Momchilov was jailed for a year for trying to use cloned ATM cards to illegally withdraw money. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A Bulgarian man, who came to Singapore and attempted to illegally withdraw about $2,000 in cash from ATMs here using cloned cards, was jailed for a year on Wednesday (Jan 25).

Bulgarian Pavlov Nedyalko Momchilov, 48, pleaded guilty in court on Jan 18 to eight counts of abetment by conspiracy to commit theft involving a total of $900.

Nine other counts for the same offence, involving about $1,100 in all, will be taken into consideration during sentencing.

Momchilov was in Bulgaria in July last year when an unknown man offered him a job to withdraw money from ATMs in Singapore by using cards the latter had prepared.

He accepted the offer and they agreed that Momchilov would get to keep 20 per cent of the cash that he could successfully withdraw in Singapore.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Suhas Malhotra said: "The cloned ATM cards were given to the accused just before he left for the Bulgarian airport to travel to Singapore. The PIN numbers were written on the cards."

Momchilov arrived in Singapore on Sept 4 last year and attempted to withdraw cash from different ATMs islandwide between that day and Sept 8.

He tried but failed to withdraw between $100 and $300 from UOB ATMs in areas such as Far East Shopping Centre, Orchard Towers and Changi Airport Terminal 1.

Momchilov's repeated unsuccessful transactions raised red flags and there was also closed-circuit television footage of him committing his offences.

On Sept 7, a UOB vice-president, Mr Desmond Goh Khiaw Siang, was alerted by the bank's unit card centre that several cloned cards had been recovered at the airport and Far East Shopping Centre.

He lodged a police report and officers arrested Momchilov two days later when he tried to leave Singapore.

For each count of abetment by conspiracy to commit theft, he could have been jailed up to nine months and fined.