Romanian National Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy In Skimming Operation
PITTSBURGH, Pa. ‑ A Romanian National pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of conspiring with another Romanian National to skim customer account information from PNC Bank ATM machines in Western Pennsylvania, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
Alexandru Razvan Serb, 39 pleaded guilty on Dec. 1, 2010, to one count of conspiracy before Senior United States District Judge Donetta W. Ambrose.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that between November 2009, and April 2010, Serb installed electronic skimming equipment onto several ATM machines in order to intercept customer bank account information contained on the magnetic strip of debit and credit cards used at ATM(s). The intended losses could be as high as $400,000 from the skimming operation.
Judge Ambrose scheduled sentencing for Thursday, April 7, 2011. The law provides for a total sentence of five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense, and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Pending sentencing, the court continued the order of detention for Serb.
Assistant United States Attorney Gregory C. Melucci is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
Agents from the United States Secret Service along with agents from the Western Pennsylvania Financial Crimes Task Force conducted the investigation that led to the conviction in this case. The Western Pennsylvania Financial Crimes Task Force (WPTCTF) was established in February 1995 as a collaborative, multi‑agency effort to effectively combat financial crimes, including identity fraud, in Western Pennsylvania. Partnering in this effort is the United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania, the United States Secret Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Department of Homeland Security, the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office, the Allegheny County Police Department, the City of Pittsburgh Police Department and the Pennsylvania State Police.