Threat Management

Two men sentenced in Michaels breach after looting ATMs

Two men each have been sentenced to 36 months in prison for withdrawing tens of thousands of dollars from ATMs with credit card information that was stolen from craft-store retail chain Michaels Stores.

In March, Eduard Arakelyan, 21, and Arman Vardanyan, 23, pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

They admitted that in July 2011 they obtained more than 950 counterfeit bank cards, which they used to make fraudulent withdrawals at banks in northern California. The cloned cards contained information that was stolen earlier in 2011 when thieves were able to implant skimming devices on point-of-sales terminals in 84 Michaels stores across 20 states.

The two men, sentenced last week in Oakland, must also serve five years of supervised release and pay $42,043 in restitution. Nobody else has been charged in the operation.

Since the breach, there have been tens of thousands of reports of fraudulent activity on customers' credit cards, prosecutors said. They said they hope these arrests will serve as a deterrent for future wannabe fraudsters.

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