Bay Area

Fremont police: Crew in East Bay debit card skimming ring arrested

FREMONT (KRON) - Fremont police have arrested four men in connection with a skimming operation, accusing them of using cloned ATM cards.

Police say they spotted one of the men making transactions at a Wells Fargo ATM. 
 
He was arrested after an officer found him with around $3,800 and dozens of gift cards--but no ATM card.

And that may have been news to his brother who reported him "missing."

The brother was then traced to a motel and detained.

In that motel room, police say they found evidence

that all four men came from Los Angeles County to the Bay Area to use cloned debit cards.
 
The cards had information from victims in Contra Costa County and were possibly compromised at a gas station pump.

Here is the full statement from police:

Four men have been arrested in connection with a criminal skimming ring operating in the Bay Area.

On January 14, 2018, A Fremont Police Department Patrol Officer observed Iurii Osetskyi make multiple transactions at a Wells Fargo ATM located in Fremont on Mowry Ave. The officer contacted Osetskyi and ultimately arrested him after discovering that he had approximately $3,800 in twenty dollar bills and over 25 various gift cards in his possession but no ATM card. Each card was wrapped in an amount of money with the corresponding ATM transaction receipt.

Later the same night Denys Osetskyi contacted the Fremont Police Department to report his brother “Iurii” missing. Dispatch told Denys they would send an officer to take a missing person report. Officers contacted Denys at a local motel and detained him pending a search warrant for the motel room and the brothers’ vehicle. That search resulted in multiple recovered cards, cash and electronics that led to the identification of an additional three suspects who are still outstanding. Evidence discovered indicates that Iurii, Denys and the additional suspects all traveled from the LA County area to the Bay Area to use the cloned debit cards in the same region where they were originally skimmed.

The gift cards were later discovered to have recorded on them the debit card number and PIN of multiple victims from around the Bay Area but predominantly from the town of Crockett in Contra Costa County. It is suspected the victims’ cards were possibly compromised when used as payment at a gas station’s gas pumps.

On February 27, 2018, Fremont Police Department plain clothes detectives observed two suspicious vehicles, one Land Rover with no license plates and a Toyota Tundra registered out of Los Angeles County. Detectives stopped the Land Rover which was being driven by Vasiliy Polyak of Montebello, CA (LA County). It was discovered that Polyak is a relative of one of the additional suspects from the Osetskyi case. A search was obtained for Polyak’s Land Rover resulting in the recovery of over nine (9) blue tooth enabled gas pump skimming devices, cloned debit cards and components to build additional skimming devices.

Detectives later observed Polyak being picked up at a shopping center near the police department by a subject in a Mercedes. Suspecting the driver of the Mercedes to be involved in skimming activities Detectives stop and detain the driver and Polyak. The driver Artak Harutyunyan is found to be on felony searchable probation out of Los Angeles County for skimming and ID theft related crimes. Artak claims to be staying in Sacramento and only came to Fremont to pick up Polyak. Detectives searched Artak’s vehicle and discovered that he is actually staying at a nearby motel. A search of that motel room led to the recovery of additional skimming devices, cash and over 125 cloned debit cards. Artak was arrested and booked at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.

Suspects in both cases have possible ties to a transnational criminal organization with roots in the greater Los Angeles County area. 

Arrests:
Iurii Osetskyi - 29 y/o, Studio City (LA County)
Charges: Conspiracy, Identity theft more than 10 victims, computer intrusion
Denys Osetski - 37 y/o Valley Village (LA County)
Charges: Conspiracy, identity theft more than 10 victims, computer intrusion
Vasiliy Polyak - 27 y/o Monetbello (LA County)
Charges: conspiracy, identity theft, computer intrusion, possession of skimming devices
Artak Harutyunyan – 49 y/o North Hollywood (LA County)
Conspiracy, identity theft, computer intrusion, possession of skimming devices

Gas station managers and employees at Bay Area gas stations are encouraged to please check your pumps. These suspects are known to have been in several cities specifically in Alameda County, Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, Contra Costa County and San Francisco.

If a device is located, please contact your local law enforcement agency.

The Federal Trade Commission website has several tips to help avoid skimmers at the gas pump. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2017/06/avoid-skimmers-pump

Anyone with information about this case is asked to please contact General Crimes – Fraud Detective Adam Foster at 510-790-6900 or via email at Afoster@fremont.gov. The Department will also accept anonymous tips via text. Please text TIP FREMONTPD followed by the information to 888-777 or via the web at https://local.nixle.com/tip/alert/6216337.

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