States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
|May 13, 2010||
Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force: FOUR ROMANIAN NATIONALS CHARGED FOR ALLEGED PARTICIPATION IN MULTISTATE ATM “SKIMMING” SCHEME
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal grand jury sitting in New Haven has returned a second superseding indictment charging four Romanian citizens with offenses related to their alleged participation in a multistate ATM “skimming” scheme. The indictment was returned yesterday, May 12.
The indictment alleges that DRAGOS OSANU, also known as “Lucian Dragos Osanu,” “The Boss,” “Antonio Venturini,” “Rosca Alexandru Osanu,” “Vasile Andrei” and “Osanu Aragos Lucian,” 29; ION PREDA, also known as “Mircea Preda,” 22; NELUT ADY OANA, 32; MARIUS OLUSTEAN, also known as “Marius Casian” and “Marius Olosutean,” 36, all citizens of Romania, and others, conspired to install “skimming” devices on automated teller machines (“ATMs”), and on card swipe access devices used by banks to control access to ATM lobby doors, in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The devices were able to capture the information encoded on the magnetic strips of bank cards used by ATM customers. The indictment further alleges that the co-conspirators 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 keyed into the ATMs to gain access to their accounts. The co-conspirators are alleged to have used this stolen information to create counterfeit bank cards that allowed them to withdraw funds from the customers’ accounts.
The indictment alleges that, on several occasions in September 2009, PREDA and OLUSTEAN installed a pin-capturing device at an ATM located at a branch of People’s United Bank in Madison, Connecticut. PREDA and/or OLUSTEAN then used stolen bank account information to conduct unauthorized ATM withdrawals in Madison, Greenwich, Connecticut, and Queens, New York.
It is alleged that, through this scheme, the four defendants victimized individuals and financial institutions of at least $182,000.
OSANU and OANA were arrested on March 2, 2010, in Virginia. On that date, OSANU and OANA allegedly possessed approximately $26,145 in U.S. currency; five re-encoded gift cards containing stolen bank account information, laptop computers, Bluetooth devices, and tools.
PREDA and OLUSTEAN were arrested on May 3, 2010, in Indiana. It is alleged that, on that date, PREDA and OLUSTEAN possessed $1,285 in cash, laptop computers, gift cards, tools, and Western Union receipts.
Each of the four defendants has been detained since his arrest.
On March 18, 2010, a federal grand jury in New Haven returned an indictment charging OSANU and PREDA with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and bank fraud. On March 18, 2010, the grand jury returned a first superseding indictment adding OANA as a defendant. The second superseding indictment, which was returned today, adds OLUSTEAN as a defendant and charges the four defendants with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. The second superseding indictment also charges PREDA and OLUSTEAN with four counts of bank fraud and four counts of aggravated identity theft.
The charge of conspiracy to commit bank fraud carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years and a fine of up to $1 million. The charge of bank fraud also carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years and a fine of up to $1 million, on each count. The charge of aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory term of imprisonment of two years, which must be imposed consecutively to a sentence imposed on any other count of conviction.
U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that an indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Each defendant is entitled to a fair trial at which it is the Government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force, which includes members of the United States Secret Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service; the United States Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security; the Connecticut State Police; and the Greenwich, Hartford, Manchester, New Haven and Shelton Police Departments. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Virginia State Police and the Indiana State Police have assisted the investigation.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan L. Wines.
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