Bulgarian duo jailed for bank card fraud in Vietnam

By Hai Duyen   April 25, 2017 | 10:37 pm GMT+7

The men successfully withdrew about $8,800 using 180 forged cards before they were arrested.

A court in Ho Chi Minh City sentenced two Bulgarians to prison on Tuesday for appropriation of property using computer networks or digital devices.

Hristov Dimitar Tsankov, 30, was given a 7-year sentence, while his accomplice Kolev Kolin Karasimirov, 26, received a 5-year sentence.

bulgarian-duo-jailed-for-bank-card-fraud-in-vietnam

Hristov claimed he committed the crime because he needed money to pay off family debts. Photo by VnExpress/H.D.

During the hearing, Hristov claimed that around March last year, a man named Petar asked him to travel to Vietnam to withdraw money using fake bank cards and promised him a 20 percent cut. Hristov said his family's business was going downhill at the time and he needed money to pay back some debts, so he agreed.

He was given instructions on how to make fake cards, along with $5,000 in cash. Hristov then invited Kolev to join him, promising to pay him $100 a day.

Upon arrival in Vietnam, the two rented accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City. A week later, Petar sent them stolen bank account information via email and equipment to make the fake cards by post.

Hristov managed to forge 180 cards, and together with Kolev, attempted nearly 500 transactions at ATMs in Ho Chi Minh City and the nearby city of Vung Tau. More than 100 of the transactions were successful, and they withdrew over VND200 million ($8,800).

They were eventually arrested on May 1, 2016 while trying to withdraw money from an ATM on Do Quang Dau Street in Ho Chi Minh City.

“The defendant only had two choices: to ensure his family's safety or to go to jail. The defendant feels guilty for committing the crime,” Hristov said in a third-person statement.