Bulgarian hacker who stole from Bill Gates nabbed in ATM heist in QC
A Bulgarian hacker who was once jailed for stealing thousands of dollars from Bill Gates’ bank accounts was arrested anew in Quezon City while stealing from an automated teller machine (ATM).
Konstantin Simeonov Kavrakov, 31, was caught in the act of using fake bank cards at an ATM of a bank along Scout Reyes Street in Barangay Paligsahan on Thursday night.
Supt. Milo Pagtalunan of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group’s Anti-Frauds and Commercial Crimes Unit said the suspect had withdrawn P76,570 when lawmen pounced on him.
“He was using counterfeit bank cards when we caught him at the ATM,” the police official said of the joint operation with the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission.
Pagtalunan added that the foreigner even tried to bribe arresting policemen into freeing him by offering $12,000.
The CIDG and the PAOCC conducted the operation to arrest Kavrakov after receiving information about European nationals engaged in cybercrime in the country and in Asia.
The PAOCC is leading Special Project “Jugador,” targeting groups of foreign nationals engaged in cyber fraud and illegal online gaming.
During his arrest on Thursday, Kakrakov yielded nine ATM receipts all dated April 9; seven assorted credit cards; a cell phone; and a shoulder bag containing P76,570.
Pagtalunan said the credit cards were a Citi Visa under the name of Joanne Magno; a Standard Chartered Mastercard under the name of Rommel Pamintuan; a Citibank Mastercard under the name of Rommel Pamintuan; a Citi Mastercard under the name of Fernando Co; a Citibank Visa under the name of Jonathan Mallari; an Eastwest Bank Vice under the name of Catherine Tiamzon, and a blank Gold card with black magnetic strips.
Kakrakov, who is currently detained at the CIDG AFCCU, was charged on Friday with nine counts of violating Republic Act 8484 or the Access Device Regulations Act and corruption of a public official.
Pagtalunan said the suspect has been victimizing Filipino bank account owners for years now and that a Filipino informant tipped them off about his activities.
The CIDG will be securing a search warrant to check his known address at a Quezon City hotel.
Jailed in Paraguay in 2011
PAOCC Executive Director Reginald Villansanta said Kavrakov was jailed by Paraguayan authorities in 2011 for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars from Gates’ bank accounts.
He was arrested in June of that year for his ATM and credit card fraud and cloning activities, as well as financial fraud, forgery and commercial fraud.
Villasanta said the suspect is believed to be part of the “Super Hacker Bulgarian Group” which is involved in international cybercrime cases and has been hunted down by authorities since 2004.
In 2011, the Paraguay Department of Combatting Economic Crimes and Financial Police arrested Kavrakov, then 28, along with fellow Bulgarians Aleksey Petrov Kolarov, Plamen Petrov Stoyanov and Marchel Penchev Dimov while attempting to shop with cloned cards in Paraguay.
The group was tagged in stealing thousands of dollars from Gates’ accounts, with Kolarov as the “king of the hackers.” Kolarov, now 32, allegedly led the group in stealing money from the Microsoft boss prior to his arrest in Paraguay.
Kolarov is believed to be the boss of the group and allegedly carried out a $4 million shopping spree on eBay, using the money of consumers in the United States.
In 2013, he was arrested in the United States where a court in New Jersey sentenced to two years in prison. However, the court ordered his extradition to Bulgaria to face similar charges from banks in other European countries.
During that their 2011 arrest, dozens of cloned cards and $90,000 withdrawn from different ATMs were recovered from the suspect. Authorities said the group’s illegal activities began in the United States and Europe in 2004.
Villasanta said they are still finding out how Kavrakov managed to secure his release in Paraguay.
“The PAOCC and the CIDG are still checking Kavrakov’s date of arrival in the country and the places where he stayed. We’re also looking at his other possible companions when he arrived in Manila,” the official said.
Meanwhile, Pagtalunan said they are looking for two other Bulgarians believed to be working with Kavkarov in his scheme. RC
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