States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
|May 19, 2010||
Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force: ROMANIAN NATIONAL SENTENCED TO THREE YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR ROLE IN ATM “SKIMMING” SCHEME
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that GINA GHEORGHE, 30, a citizen of Romania, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Mark R. Kravitz in New Haven to 36 months of imprisonment for her role in an ATM “skimming” scheme.
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 has been detained since her arrest by the Norwalk Police Department and the Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force on March 26, 2009.
On February 25, 2010, GHEORGHE pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. Today, Judge Kravitz imposed a 12-month sentence on the bank fraud conviction, and a mandatory two-year consecutive sentence on the aggravated identity theft conviction.
Constantin also pleaded guilty and, on March 10, 2010, he was sentenced to 48 months of imprisonment.
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 U.S. Postal Inspection Service; the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security; the Connecticut State Police; and the Greenwich, Hartford, Manchester, New Haven and Shelton Police Departments.
U.S. Attorney Fein 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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