Bails were set at $50,000 each today for three local men accused of using "skimming" devices to steal bank account information they used to drain ATMs overseas and in Chicago, authorities said.
Judge Israel Desierto set the bails today for the trio -- Yuliyan Velinov Kehayov, 40, Nikolay Nikolov Bozov, 43, and Dan Constantine Stocia, 26, said Cook County state's attorney's office spokesman Stephen Campbell.
Kehayov, of the 4400 block of North Oak Park Avenue in Harwood Heights, Bozov, of the 9400 block of Kelvin Lane in Schiller Park, and Stocia, of the 6100 block of North Maplewood Avenue in Chicago, were all charged with continuing a financial crimes enterprise, a felony, Campbell said. Additionally, Stocia was charged with possession of a controlled substance after police said they found him with a bottle of steroids.
"The defendants were found to be part of an ongoing organized financial institution fraud ring in which fraudulent debit ATM cards were re-encoded with bank account information that belongs to victims in the United States and overseas," said Maura Possley, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General's Office, which is prosecuting the case.
Through the bogus cards they "attempted to unlawfully access bank account numbers and access codes without the victims' knowledge or consent," in a process known as a "cash out," Possley said.
"There's evidence that the defendants collectively engaged in over thirty cash outs between July and October of this year," she said.
Chicago police arrest reports state the three were captured on bank video surveillance photos "numerous times" cashing out stolen debit card numbers that had been "compromised in Europe via means of an access card device (skimmer)."
While it was not being disclosed how much money the three allegedly took, they had "hundreds" of fraudulent cards, Possley said.
It was also not clear how people were victimized.
All three are expected to appear in court again on Dec. 13, Campbell said.
Stocia was born in Romania while the birthplace of the other two suspects was listed as Bulgaria, according to police reports.