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Romanian gang member faces jail over £1.3m malware theft from cashpoints

Published 16/12/2015

Teofil Bortos pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud ATM provider Cardtronics UK
Teofil Bortos pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud ATM provider Cardtronics UK

A member of a Romanian gang is facing years behind bars for his part in stealing £1.3 million over five days by infecting high street cash machines across England with a computer virus.

Teofil Bortos, 36, of Cheltenham Gardens, Newham, east London, pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to conspiring to defraud ATM provider Cardtronics UK between May 1 and 28 last year.

Bortos, Grigore Paladi and other unknown plotters targeted numerous towns from Blackpool to Brighton over the Bank Holiday weekend.

They made off with a total of £1,373,640 by activating malware on the ATM computers in a carefully planned and sophisticated scam.

Over five days from May 21 last year, they hit 51 cashpoints, although Bortos was only present at 19 where around £191,000 was stolen.

Although Bortos is not accused of inserting the malware himself, the prosecution say he was in a trusted position within the gang and was party to the criminal enterprise.

Prosecutor Timothy Godfrey told the court that co-conspirator Paladi had already been jailed for five years at an earlier hearing at Southwark Crown Court.

Bortos entered his guilty plea via video link from jail with the help of a Romanian interpreter.

Judge Nicholas Cooke QC remanded him in custody until sentencing on January 11 next year in order to be given more information about the case.

The court heard that none of the stolen money has been recovered.

Bortos had a similar status within the gang as Paladi, 37, from Portsmouth, who had admitted the conspiracy and was sentenced in February.

The court heard Paladi personally accessed 15 cash machines in Portsmouth, Bognor Regis, Brighton, Liverpool and London and stole £554,860.

Following the viral attacks, the malware deleted itself and no customer data was compromised.

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