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United States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
Press Release

February 18, 2011

Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force:
ROMANIAN NATIONAL SENTENCED TO 46 MONTHS IN FEDERAL
PRISON FOR HEADING MULTISTATE ATM “SKIMMING” SCHEME

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that DRAGOS OSANU, also known as “Lucian Dragos Osanu,” “The Boss,” “Antonio Venturini,” “Rosca Alexandru Osanu,” “Vasile Andrei” and “Osanu Aragos Lucian,” 30, a citizen of Romania, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Janet C. Hall in Bridgeport to 46 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for his leadership of a multistate ATM “skimming” scheme that caused more than $200,000 in losses to victim financial institutions.

“This extensive investigation has revealed that this defendant held a leadership role in a conspiracy that raided customer accounts and victimized banks not only in the United States, but also in more than a dozen countries,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein.  “The U.S. Secret Service, Greenwich Police Department, members of the Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force and several state and national police departments, particularly the Spanish National Police, should be commended for neutralizing an international fraud ring before it gained more of a foothold here in the U.S.  Many individuals and financial institutions have been victimized, but without this coordinated law enforcement effort, the damage would have been much worse.”

According court documents and statements made in court, OSANU 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, New York and New Jersey.  The devices were able to capture the information encoded on the magnetic strips of bank 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 keyed 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.

On November 22, 2010, OSANU pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.  In pleading guilty, OSANU specifically admitted that, in June and July 2009, he and others placed skimming devices and pinhole cameras at a Wachovia Bank ATM and a PNC Bank ATM in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and stole money from compromised accounts at those banks.  Also, in August 2009, OSANU and others attempted to obtain without authorization customer account information by way of skimming devices on ATMs at a Bank of America located on Third Avenue in New York, New York.

The investigation revealed that, prior to his arrival in the United States in approximately January 2009, OSANU held a leadership role in a European ATM skimming conspiracy.  The Spanish National Police and other law enforcement agencies have identified a total of approximately 200 individuals, including OSANU, who have participated in this extensive fraud conspiracy in 14 different countries.  A majority of these suspects have been arrested in Spain, Romania and elsewhere.  The investigation revealed that OSANU moved to Queens, New York in order to expand the multinational fraud operation to the U.S.

In the U.S., this scheme has resulted in a combined loss to the victim banks of more than $200,000.  As a direct result of OSANU’s participation in the conspiracy, 48 accounts were compromised and banks lost more than $72,000.

OSANU has been detained since his arrest on March 2, 2010, in Virginia.  On that date, OSANU and co-defendant Nelut Ady Oana possessed approximately $26,145 in U.S. currency; five re-encoded gift cards containing stolen bank account information, laptop computers, Bluetooth devices, and tools.

Oana previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud stemming from this scheme.  On October 7, 2010, Judge Hall sentenced him to 15 months of imprisonment.

This investigation has been conducted by the Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force, notably the United States Secret Service and the Greenwich Police Department.  The Task Force also includes members of the United States Postal Inspection Service; the United States Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security; the Connecticut State Police; and the Glastonbury, Hartford, New Haven and Shelton Police Departments.  U.S. Attorney Fein specifically recognized the efforts of the Spanish National Police, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Virginia State Police and the Indiana State Police for their assistance in the investigation and prosecution of this matter.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan L. Wines.

 

CONTACT:

 

U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
Tom Carson
(203) 821-3722
thomas.carson@usdoj.gov

 

 

 

 

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