Men who scammed banks jailed

Two men who claimed to be on holiday in Bermuda but scammed bank machines across the island were jailed for a year yesterday.

Tiberiu Gavrila, 45, from Romania, and Radu Asavei, 32, from Britain, both admitted to conspiracy to remove stolen money from the island in 2019.

The two also pleaded guilty to stealing from HSBC bank and possession of false credit cards between January 20 and 30 of last year.

Magistrate Craig Attridge told them: “The increasing prevalence of offences of this nature undermines the financial integrity of this island.”

Mr Attridge added they had both admitted the offences and had clean records in Bermuda, but said bank fraud increased the cost of business on the island and “makes victims of us all”.

A Bermudian, 53-year-old Eldon Robinson, from St George’s, was also charged with conspiracy and will appear in court at a later date.

Gavrila, who has been in jail since May 16, will return to court on April 9, charged with the theft of $2,525 from Clarien Bank while on bail between April 27 and 29 and an attempt to steal a further $15,985.

Asavei has been remanded in custody since August 14.

Javone Rogers, for the Crown, said $1,450 could be proved to have been stolen in a string of offences, committed using fake cards from France, Sweden, Germany and the United States.

At least 15 fake cards were used to withdraw money from HSBC cash machines around the island and the total they attempted to steal was $4,340.

The court heard several of the cards were retained by ATMs after the transactions registered as suspicious and were retrieved by bank staff.

Gavrila, from Pancota in Romania, flew to Bermuda on January 20, and claimed to be on vacation.

Asavei arrived two days later and joined Gavrila, who was staying at the Sandpiper Apartments in Warwick.

Staff became suspicious after the men inquired about converting Bermuda cash to American dollars and changed the length of their stay several times.

Gavrila was pointed out to a police officer by guesthouse staff on January 23 and the two men were identified from cash machine CCTV.

They were arrested, along with Mr Robinson, on January 30.

Mr Rogers said only nine of the fake cards known to be used had been seized.

He added: “There is no telling how far the scope of their offending really goes.”

The $1,450 was seized as criminal assets.

Mr Robinson, who has pleaded not guilty, will stand trial in April.

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