12 months jail for skimming fraudster

First published in County News

A fraudster who used a card skimming device on a Milford Haven cash machine was jailed for 12 months by magistrates last week.

Romanian-born Radu Rotar, aged 25, was found guilty of possessing or having control of a card skimming device at Milford Haven, and committing fraud jointly with Ioan Popescu when he used a card at a Tesco cash point, on November 9th.

He denied both charges.

Prosecutor David Weale said that although no forensic evidence linked Rotar directly to the crime, several strands of circumstantial evidence formed a "very strong rope which is far, far more difficult to fabricate and misinterpret".

He added: "This is a sophisticated crime carried out by organised criminals who are forensically aware."

The court heard that Rotar and Popescu, who was jailed for six months last month, travelled to Milford Haven from Liverpool on November 8th to view a car for sale.

Rotar told the court that after parking in the Tesco car park, he attempted to redeem an Argos gift card at the ATM.

He said: "I was unaware that the gift card was not to be used in such a way."

But Mr Weale said that Rotar was acting naive and "very adept in making up stories to exonerate himself".

He said: "I put it to you that you are forensically aware and you take the court and this legal system for fools.

"If everything you say makes perfect business sense, makes perfect legal sense and makes logical sense, then I am looking forward to sending my note up the chimney to Father Christmas."

But Matthew Greenish, defending, said that there was no evidence to suggest that Rotar actually handled the skimming device or was involved in its creation.

Rotar received a six-month prison sentence for each charge, to run consecutively, ordered to pay £85 costs, and disqualified from driving for 12 months.

Magistrates also ordered the destruction of the card readers, a mouse, a Bluetooth device and mobile phones, that were found in his possession.

Presiding magistrate David Simpson said: "I would like to say as a member of the European Union, we welcome people to come to this country. But we do not welcome criminals and people like you.

"I hope you serve your sentence and depart from our shores."

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