Calgary Man Arrested for Counterfeit Credit Cards, May Have Been Connected to “Organized Crime”
4 May 2015
Calgary resident Andriy Volodymryrovich Plyusnin, 28, was no stranger to credit card-related crime. In September of 2014, he was arrested on one count of fraud over $5,000 when he purchased 54 used cars with credit card data collected through card skimming. He then rolled back the cars’ odometers and re-sold them for more than they were worth, scamming approximately 50 victims out of a total of $300,000.
Now Plyusnin is in trouble with the law again, this time for what looks to be a larger credit card and ID counterfeiting operation. He was arrested on Thursday, March 26, after the Calgary police’s economic crimes unit received a tip from the RCMP that set off a month-long investigation.
After carrying out a search warrant for the home where Plyusnin was living on Mahogany Heath S.E., police found numerous items related to fraudulent credit and identification card manufacturing. These included bundles of blank credit and identification cards, electronic scanners, a card printer, counterfeit cards that had already been produced, counterfeit vehicle registrations and a device used for rolling back odometers, indicating that Plyusnin may have intended to carry out the same crime as he did last year. They also recovered a small amount of MDMA and marijuana from the home.
According to Staff Sergeant Kristie Verheul of the Calgary police’s economic crimes unit, although these items may seem sophisticated to the uninitiated, they are actually quite easy to purchase online.
“There should be more controls, but it’d be very difficult to regulate,” Verheul said in a statement.
She added that counterfeit credit card manufacturing is increasing in frequency in the Calgary area.
“This is becoming the mainstay of work being done by the economic crimes unit,” she said. “We are seeing an increase in credit card fabrication over the last year, it leads us as investigators to be on top of it.”
Verheul also said that these types of operations are usually too large to be carried out by a single person, leading police to suspect a connection to organized crime. In this case, she suspects that card skimming devices were placed throughout the city, which provided Plyusnin with the data he needed to manufacture his counterfeit cards. He would then use the fraudulent cards to make purchases at local merchants, reselling the items he bought for a higher price. Some of these items were also found in the Mahogany Heath home, still in their original packaging.
It’s unclear how many people may have been working with Plyusnin, but police believe he was not alone in carrying out these crimes.
Plyusnin has been charged with nine counts of various crimes: three counts of fraud under $5,000, two counts of possession of credit card data and one count each of possession of a counterfeit credit card, possession of manufacturing equipment, possession of government seals and possession of stolen property. He was also charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance.
Card skimming and counterfeit credit card manufacturing are becoming more common as time goes on. To be alerted to certain activity in your credit file, consider signing up for a credit monitoring service.