News and Press Releases

Ringleader of large-Scale aTM skimming scheme extradited to united states to face multiple charges



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 7, 2014


 

NEWARK, N.J. – A native of Romania who was arrested in Sweden is scheduled to make his initial court appearance today following his extradition to face charges that he directed a large-scale ATM skimming scheme targeting New Jersey bank customers, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Marius Vintila, a/k/a “Dan Girneata,” 31, is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in Newark federal court on a six-count criminal complaint charging him with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, conspiracy to possess 15 or more counterfeit access devices, possession of 15 or more counterfeit access devices, conspiracy to possess access device-making equipment, and possession of access device-making equipment.  In July 2013, as federal agents arrested various members of Vintila’s large-scale ATM skimming scheme, Vintila fled the United States. On Sept. 24, 2013, he was apprehended in Sweden.     

According to documents filed in this and other cases and statements made in court:

Vintila was allegedly the ringleader of an extensive ATM skimming scheme that defrauded Wells Fargo, Citibank, TD Bank and multiple other financial institutions out of at least $5 million. Vintila and his conspirators installed skimmers and pinhole cameras at bank ATMs in order to steal thousands of customer bank account numbers and PIN codes. Each skimmer would read and record identity and account information contained in the magnetic strip of a customer’s ATM card. The pinhole camera secretly recorded bank customers’ keystrokes as they entered their personal identification numbers.

Vintila and another conspirator, Bogdan Radu, 30, who was charged separately and is also in custody, created and constructed the homemade skimming devices and taught others how to install them on bank ATMs. The homemade devices were installed on multiple ATMs in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Florida, and were used to steal thousands of bank account numbers and personal identification numbers. After the account information was stolen, Vintila and his conspirators created false and fraudulent ATM cards, which they used to withdraw millions of dollars from customers’ bank accounts. During the course of the conspiracy, Vintila produced and transferred hundreds of fraudulent ATM cards. Vintila also used an alias, “Dan Girneata,” to open bank accounts, rent vehicles, and rent multiple self-storage units, in which he stored the contents of an entire skimming operation, including skimming devices, pinhole cameras, super glue, tape, SD cards, batteries, computers, molds, fraudulent ATM cards, and cash proceeds.  

Vintila’s alleged ATM skimming operation is one of the largest ever uncovered by law enforcement. In total, to date, 12 others have been charged in connection with the skimming scheme. Many of the conspirators are Romanian nationals who lived in and around Queens, N.Y. Other charged conspirators, recruited by Vintila, included Radu, Constantin Ginga, 53; Marius Cotiga, 35; Constantin Pendus, 30; Emil Revesz, 30; Florin Apetrei, 18; Ioan Leusca, 30; Dezso Gyapias, 29; Luis Franco, 23; Mirel Hadzalic, 24; Enes Causevic, 23; and another individual charged as “FNU LNU,” (first name unknown, last name unknown) a/k/a “Chioru.”  These conspirators installed the devices designed by Vintila and Radu and used the stolen bank account information to withdraw millions of dollars from bank customers’ accounts.   

With the arrest of Vintila, 12 of the 13 conspirators charged in connection with Vintila’s ATM skimming scheme to date are in custody in New Jersey and are being held without bail. Leusca and Gyapias have pleaded guilty to separate informations charging each with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. They await sentencing on Feb. 20, 2014. Ginga also previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft and awaits sentencing on Feb. 26, 2014.     

Vintila is charged with six counts, as described below, which carry the following maximum penalties and fines:

Count

Offense

Maximum Penalty

Maximum Fine

1

Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud

Thirty years in prison

$1 million

2

Aggravated Identity Theft

Mandatory, consecutive penalty of two years in prison

$250,000, or twice the gross pecuniary gain or loss from the offense

3

Conspiracy to Possess Fifteen or More Counterfeit Access Devices

Five years in prison

$250,000, or twice the gross pecuniary gain or loss from the offense

4

Possession of Fifteen or More Counterfeit Access Devices

Ten years in prison

$250,000, or twice the gross pecuniary gain or loss from the offense

5

Conspiracy to Possess Access Device-Making Equipment

Seven and one-half years in prison

$250,000, or twice the gross pecuniary gain or loss from the offense

6

Possession of Access Device-Making Equipment

Fifteen years in prison

$250,000, or twice the gross pecuniary gain or loss from the offense

                       
U.S. Attorney Fishman praised special agents of the U.S. Secret Service, Newark Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James Mottola, along with special agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Newark, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Andrew M. McLees, with the investigation leading to Vintila’s arrest and extradition. U.S. Attorney Fishman also thanked the U.S. Secret Service London Field Office, HSI Frankfurt, the Swedish National Bureau of Investigation, Fugitive Active Search Team, and the Police Authority of Skåne, Malmo Division, for their assistance in locating and apprehending Vintila in Sweden. The Office of International Affairs from the Justice Department’s Criminal Division provided assistance with the extradition.

The charges in the complaint against Vintila are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rahul Agarwal and David M. Eskew of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark. 

14-044                                                             

Vintila Complaint

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