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Special investigation International fraud boss jailed as part of Garda probe into multi-million euro credit card scam

A senior source had told Sunday World that a laptop which seized by fraud squad detectives as part of the investigation contained the details of up to 1000 credit cards.

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Gang boss Daniel Almajanu

Gang boss Daniel Almajanu

Gang boss Daniel Almajanu

Gardai have welcomed the jailing today of a major international fraud kingpin who could potentially have made up to €5 million from the cloning of stolen credit cards.

Daniel Almajanu (35) and his sidekick Albert Gimy Linul (29) were jailed for four years and four months and three years respectively at Dublin Circuit Court today.

The Romanian nationals were busted after a special investigation by the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB).

A senior source had told Sunday World that a laptop which seized by fraud squad detectives as part of the investigation contained the details of up to 1000 credit cards.

“Each card has potential to make around €3000 to €5000 especially in USA where there is no chip and pin facility.

“Not all the cards would have worked and some would be accepted but there was the potential for this gang to make between €3m and €5m” the source explained.

It can also be revealed that such is the scale of his criminal network that Almajanu is a target for the American Secret Service agency who have been working with their European counterparts on attempting to bring him to justice.

“It is likely that Almajanu could face serious charges in other jurisdictions once he finishes his sentence here,” the source pointed out.

Almajanu has no previous convictions here, but four convictions in Romania and the UK for similar fraud offences and has been along term target for agencies including Europol.

The Investigation was led by Detective Superintendent Michael Cryan and his team at the GNECB.

Dublin Circuit Court heard that the two members of a Romanian organised crime gang made dozens of fake credit cards and used them in Dublin shops in the wake of a “deep” skim of UK bank customers' details.

Almajanu made fake cards using a card reader/writer machine while Albert Gimy Linul visited various shops buying things with the fake cards, including cartons of cigarettes which were then sold on.

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Albert Gimy Linul

Albert Gimy Linul

Albert Gimy Linul

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that during an extensive skimming operation in the UK a Romanian criminal gang based there used a “deep insert skimmer” to collect details of customers of the HSBC bank outlets.

Both Almajanu and Linul were “considered to be members of that organised crime group,” the court heard.

The court heard that Almajanu made fake cards using this information and then gave the fake cards to Linul.

Linul of Prussia Street, Dublin used the cards to buy cartons of cigarettes on a number of occasions in several newsagents in Dublin and these cartons were sold on for profit.

Garda Ciaran Ronan of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau told the court that Linul stole a total of £1,185 from the UK bank.

Judge Melanie Greally said evidence was given that these offences “represent an offshoot of an organised and sophisticated international fraud”.

Judge Greally said it was accepted that Linul was operating at “a relatively low level”. She said Almanjanu was responsible for recruiting his co-accused and played a “pivotal organisational role”.

She sentenced Linul to three years imprisonment and sentenced Almajanu to four years and four months imprisonment. She backdated both terms of imprisonment to the dates the men went into custody.

Linul pleaded guilty to three counts of possessing a total of 60 fraudulent bank cards at various locations in Dublin between February 13 and February 14 this year. He also pleaded guilty to eight counts of using a fake HSBC bank card at a number of Dublin shops, ten counts of theft and two counts of attempted theft from HSBC on dates between November1, 2019 and February 4, 2020.

Almajanu, of North Circular Road, Dublin, pleaded guilty to two counts of having custody of 53 fake bank cards and one count of making65 fake bank cards at various locations in Dublin between January 1 and February 13 this year.

He also pleaded guilty to one count of possessing a laptop specifically designed to make false cards.

Both men were arrested when gardaí noticed them acting suspiciously in Temple Bar in February this year. A number of fake cards were found on them and in Almajanu's car.

Gardaí found more cards in the Prussia Street flat, along with a Lenovo laptop and a card reader/writer machine used for making fake cards. A number of cartons of cigarettes were also discovered.

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