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Feds cuff man in ATM skimming case

'You won't know what to do with the money'

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Federal authorities have arrested a Serbian national living in Chicago and charged him with attempting to buy an ATM skimming device.

Louis Sokolovic, also known as Ljubisa Sokolovic, was taken into custody late last week after being charged with one count of attempting to obtain device-making equipment with intent to defraud, according to documents filed in US District court in Chicago. They allege that beginning in July of 2008, Sokolovic began shopping for a device with the help of someone who turned out to be a confidential witness for the FBI.

“You won't know what to do with the money, don't you worry,” Sokolovic told the unnamed snitch during a meeting on July 3, according to the complaint. “If you get this realized, I'll work for a month and a half and stop. In a month and a half I guarantee you half a million and up.”

Sokolovic allegedly spent the next six weeks trying to get his hands on a digital video recorder and video camera suitable for capturing the personal identification numbers of targeted payment cards. Although the pair discussed stealing the devices, the 59-year-old Serbian national eventually decided it would be easier to buy one off the internet.

“Motherf----r, we have to pay a thief to steal it, but he can fail .... everything can happen,” he told the witness. “Motherf----r, I would rather buy it! Tell me what I need to buy. If it is on the internet, I will buy it.”

He eventually acquired a PV-500 DVR and an “ultra mini camera” for about $585 but grew increasingly impatient with the amount of time it was taking to get the scheme off the ground.

“This is going to take two years . . . . I cannot work on this for 100 years,” he complained. “This is f---ing me up.”

During the course of the investigation, Sokolovic repeatedly said the device would be used to capture account information such as PINs from unsuspecting ATM customers, which he then planned to use to steal funds from victim accounts, prosecutors alleged. Sokolovic faces a possible sentence of 10 years in prison. He has not yet entered a plea. ®

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