ATM Skimming Crew Gets Stung
A three man Romanian ATM Skimming Crew engage in an ATM skimming operation that steals money from bank accounts. They use card skimmers that connect to ATM machines in order to carry out their crime. For their participation in the scheme, the perpetrators will serve lengthy prison sentences. The culprits are Cristian Viorel Ciobanu, Bogdan Mirel Constantin, and Daniel Marius Muraretu, all of whom are from Romania. They are part of a criminal group that travels to the United States. Specifically, they travel to Pennsylvania, Virginia, California and Texas to steal money from victims’ bank accounts. All three defendants must pay restitution in the amount of $390,487.64. The guilty pleas for the three defendants vary, accordingly.
For Ciobanu, he pleads guilty to conspiracy to commit access device fraud and aggravated identity theft. His prison sentence includes a 42 month sentence for the fraud. In addition, Ciobanu receives another two years for the identity theft which he must serve consecutively. Ciobanu’s total federal prison sentence is for sixty-six months.
Regarding Constantin, he pleads guilty to aggravated identity theft. For his crime, he receives a mandatory two years in prison. As for Muraretu, he receives a thirty-seven month sentence for his conviction on the conspiracy charge.
At the hearing, Ciobanu acknowledges his grave mistake. Unfortunately for Ciobanu, however, it appears as though he is a habitual “mistake maker.” Accordingly, when the judge hands down Ciobanu’s prison sentence, he notes that Ciobanu committs one crime after another, after another. Specifically, the judge reminds Ciobanu of his “mistakes” in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Texas and then California. “You did not just make a mistake. This was not just a matter of you bumping into someone,” said the judge. “You claim you are a good man – but this is not the mark of a good man.”
Mechanics of The Romanian Trio
In each state, the co-conspirators use card skimmers to steal ATM card numbers as customers insert their cards into the machines. Further, they use hidden cameras to record customers as they enter the ATM PIN numbers. With the stolen data, the Romanian trio then make their own fake ATM cards. Shortly thereafter, the criminal team utilizes the fake cards and stolen PINs to withdraw nearly $400,000 from customer accounts.