States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
|February 26, 2010||
Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force: SECOND ROMANIAN NATIONAL ADMITS ROLE IN ATM “SKIMMING” SCHEME
Nora R. Dannehy, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that GINA GHEORGHE, 29, a citizen of Romania, waived her right to indictment and pleaded guilty yesterday, February 25, before United States District Judge Mark R. Kravitz in New Haven to one count of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
According to court documents and statements made in court, GHEORGHE, Victor Vasile Constantin, also a Romanian citizen, and others participated in a scheme whereby they secretly installed “skimming” devices on automated teller machines (“ATMs”) at various Bank of America branches in Fairfield County. These devices were able to capture the information encoded on the magnetic strips of bank debit cards used by ATM customers. They also placed devices on the ATMs that contained hidden pinhole cameras, which were positioned in such a way as to be able to record the personal identification numbers that bank customers punched into the ATMs to gain access to their accounts. The group then used this stolen information to create counterfeit bank cards that allowed them to withdraw funds from the customers’ accounts.
GHEORGHE is scheduled to be sentenced on May 19, 2010, at which time she faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years on the bank fraud charge, and a mandatory two-year sentence, consecutive to any term of imprisonment imposed on the bank fraud conviction, on the charge of aggravated identity theft.
GHEORGHE and Constantin have been detained since they were arrested by the Norwalk Police Department and the Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force on March 26, 2009.
Constantin pleaded guilty to the same charges on November 16, 2009. He awaits sentencing.
This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force, notably the United States Secret Service. The Task Force also includes members from the United States Postal Inspection Service; the United States Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service; the Connecticut State Police; and the Greenwich, Hartford, Manchester, New Haven and Shelton Police Departments.
U.S. Attorney Dannehy specifically recognized the efforts of the Norwalk, Greenwich and Ridgefield Police departments, and the State’s Attorney’s Offices for the Judicial Districts of Danbury and Stamford/Norwalk, for their assistance in the investigation and prosecution of this matter.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Murphy.
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