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NASSAU COUNTY/Three plead guilty to $16,000 debit scheme

Three men pleaded guilty to using stolen gift cards encoded with pilfered debit card numbers to get more than $16,000 in cash from ATMs, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced Friday.

The men used skimmers - small devices secretly installed on ATMs that read and store credit card and debit card information - and captured Bank of America customer information, Rice said. The information was then digitally coded onto stolen gift cards with a magnetic strip that can act as fake debit cards at ATMs, Rice said.

Brian Smith, 24, of Bayville, his brother Thomas Smith, 26, of Toms River, N.J., and Sasha Popov, 42, of Bethpage, each pleaded guilty to first-degree scheme to defraud. In exchange for their guilty pleas, the court promised Brian Smith probation, Thomas Smith a sentence of 1 to 3 years in prison and Popov a sentence of 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison.

Thomas Smith's lawyer, Anthony Battisti of Queens, declined to comment. Brian Smith's lawyer, Joe Hanshe of Sayville, and Sasha Popov's lawyer, Brendan Twomey of Syosset, did not return phone messages Friday.- SOPHIA CHANG

WEST BABYLON/West Nile virus found in mosquito pool

A mosquito pool in West Babylon has tested positive for West Nile virus, Suffolk health officials said Friday. It is the first such detection this year on Long Island.

The sample was taken on June 23 in West Babylon and sent upstate to the state Health Department laboratory for testing, said Suffolk health department spokeswoman Grace Kelly-McGovern.

Suffolk was notified of the results on Friday. The area where the sample was taken had already been treated with larvicides.

No Nassau mosquito pools have yet tested positive for the virus, which is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes. West Nile has not been detected in humans or animals in either county so far this year, officials said.

Positive pools of live West Nile virus were also found in several sites throughout New York City, health Commissioner Thomas Farley said Friday. Infected mosquitoes were collected from several locations in three boroughs, including Staten Island, Brooklyn and various sections of Queens. So far, no human cases have been detected. - JENNIFER SMITH


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