Serbian tourists jailed for ATM skimming

Cheryl Goodenough
Filip Mrkajic and Romana Panic attached bank card skimming devices to three Brisbane ATMs

Two Serbian tourists used a "sophisticated system" to film people using ATMs to steal bank card details and PINs.

Real estate agent Filip Mrkajic, 40, and singer Romana Panic, 45, attached skimming devices and pinhole cameras to three Brisbane ATMs in March and April.

The pair were in Australia on tourist visas when they ran into money problems before hatching the plan to "fill their wallets", Brisbane District Court Judge Paul Smith said.

They obtained bank details of more than 35 people.

Police searched the Spring Hill unit where Mrkajic and Panic were staying in April after a technician found devices on an ATM at Kelvin Grove.

Officers found $23,500 of tainted money, card skimming devices, data storage cards depicting footage of customers at ATMs, personal banking details for customers at those banks and tools to install further devices.

Some footage was from a camera placed on a Cannon Hill ATM for eight hours.

Officers found Mrkajic had conducted a reconnaissance of the ATM before returning two days later wearing a baseball cap and surgical mask.

He placed devices that appeared to be genuine parts on the ATM.

A pinhole camera recorded video and audio to capture the personal identification numbers of customers using the ATM, while a card reader with a magnetic strip obtained card numbers.

Judge Smith said the crown prosecutor argued the offending was "sophisticated and premeditated".

"It was so sophisticated that the device went undetected at Wynnum and Cannon Hill for lengthy periods of time," he said.

A magistrate said the offending involved a "sophisticated system" of placing the devices on ATMs allowing Mrkajic and Panic to unlawfully record people using the ATMs without their knowledge.

Mrkajic pleaded guilty to 18 charges relating to the scheme, while Panic pleaded guilty to 16 charges.

They were also ordered to forfeit the $23,500, although there was no evidence the money was derived from skimming activity.

Mrkajic will serve a head sentence of 14 months in prison, suspended after serving three months.

Panic will serve a head sentence of 12 months' jail, suspended after two months.

Judge Smith dismissed appeals against the sentences by both Mrkajic and Panic on Wednesday.