A Bronx man was charged with more than 40 counts of ATM fraud, more than 20 counts of identity theft and other charges in Darien and other towns after using a debit card “skimmer” at multiple ATM’s in the tri-state area and in New England, police said.
Mario Peña and Mirko Martinelli allegedly used counterfeit debit and credit cards to withdraw cash from JP Morgan Chase and Citibank in September. They were able to withdraw a total of $1,220.00 from 13 compromised accounts, police said.
Peña and Martinelli were arrested in Fairfield later that night and found with 34 bank cards. They were subsequently released.
According to a police statement, skimmers are used by criminals to obtain the personal information of persons utilizing an ATM. A skimmer device is placed on the outside of the ATM and as the customer puts their card into the ATM it goes through the skimmer. The skimmer reads and records the information on the customer’s card. In this case the suspects used this information to make counterfeit cards by placing magnetic strips with the information on blanks cards. The method for obtaining the pin numbers is unknown in this case. The skimmer had reportedly been on this particular ATM for approximately 15 hours.
Peña was arrested by U.S. Customs at Logan Airport in Boston, Massachusetts, trying to return to his native Dominican Republic. Extradition was requested by Darien police and several other jurisdictions where Peña allegedly stole from ATM’s.
Peña was returned to Darien police and charged with 42 counts of fraudulent use of an ATM, 42 counts of the use of a counterfeit credit card, 24 counts of third-degree identity theft, 24 counts of conspiracy to commit third-degree identity theft and one count of fourth-degree larceny. He was held on a $50,000 bond and then extradited to Oradell, New Jersey on another warrant. He was held in Oradell on $150,000 bond and arraigned in court on Monday.
Mirko Martinelli is scheduled to turn himself in to Darien Police today.