Ho Chi Minh City court sends Russians to jail for ATM scam

By Ngoc Le, Thanh Nien News

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Two Russian men being escorted to a Ho Chi Minh City courtroom on Wednesday. Photo: Ngoc Le

 A Ho Chi Minh City court sent two Russians to prison on Wednesday afternoon for using fake ATM cards to steal money from local banks.

Surkov Dmitry Vladimirovich, 37, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail; his accomplice Debenko Igor Miroslavovich, 35, received two years.

On October 16, 2013, ACB Bank officials realized the pair had used a fake ATM card to withdraw money from an ATM machine on District 1’s Cong Truong Lam Son Street.

The officials reached the scene in time to catch the two Russians red-handed.

Local police seized 36 fake credit cards, 20 plastic cards of various types and around VND 124 million (US$5,855) in cash.

Surkov told the police that he had lost around $5,000 while gambling in Moscow last June and was unable to repay his debt.

The Russian casino allegedly asked him to take some fake ATM cards to Vietnam to withdraw the money he'd need to pay his debt.

According to Surkov, they offered him a 10 percent commission on the illegal withdrawals.

Surkov said he had used 8 fake cards to withdraw nearly VND 84 million ($4,000).

Debenko also claimed to have brought another 16 fake cards into the country and said he'd used nine to withdraw around VND 60 million ($2,833) at a number of ATMs around the city.

He claimed that he did not know his actions would create trouble for local banks.

The two men, who shared a rented apartment in District 2, said that they both felt ashamed to have committed such crimes in a foreign country. 

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