A 52-year-old career criminal was convicted of four charges including participating in an organised crime gang and money-laundering offences after an investigation into the nationwide ATM scam.

Iulian Craciun was found guilty last week at Trim Circuit Court after a trial that lasted more than three weeks.

The court heard over 500 different bank accounts were targeted by the crime group whose head quarters were in Navan.

Craciun is considered by detectives as the “senior player” in a four-man Romanian gang responsible for a wave of ATM skimming incidents between September and December 2018.

Skimming involves criminals placing devices in ATMs. These then scan the details of a person’s card when it is placed in a machine.

Once installed, the devices are used to record data and PINs. The criminals then use this information for cloned cards to withdraw cash at different locations.

In 2018, officers from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) established that more than 550 ATM skimming crimes had been committed in 10 weeks.

However, since the arrest of Craciun and his accomplice, Danile Munteanu (34), in March 2019, there has not been one recorded incident of this type of crime in the entire country. Garden Centre now open.