Twelve Individuals Charged in ATM Skimming Conspiracy
Twelve individuals were charged with allegedly executing a scheme to defraud customers of Bank of America and PNC Bank through conduct known as “ATM skimming,” according to complaints that were unsealed following the arrest of the majority of the defendants, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman of the District of New Jersey
Bogdan Viorel Rusu, 36, of Howard Beach, New York; Marcel Peckham, aka Marcel Enescu Cismas, 43, of Little Neck, New York; Catalin Mihai Dragomir, 32, of Glendale, New York; Eduard Vasilica Ticu, 28, also of Glendale; Stefan Dumitru, 28, of Astoria, New York; an unidentified defendant, known as Zoltan Nagy, 39, of Bayside, New York; Silvester Florentin Papp, 24, of Ridgewood, New York; Joel Abel Garcia, 34, of Bronx, New York; Gabriel Mares, 43, of College Point, New York; Florian Calin Crainic, 46, of Des Plaines, Illinois; Florin Mares, 48, also of College Point; and Vasilica Adrian Hanganu, 35, also of Bayside, are each charged by complaint with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. All of the defendants have been arrested, with the exception of Nagy, who remains at large.
According to the complaint, the co-conspirators – led by Rusu – sought to defraud financial institutions and their customers by illegally obtaining customer account information, including account numbers and personal identification numbers. Between March 2015 and July 2016, the co-conspirators allegedly installed electronic equipment at ATMs at several banks across New Jersey. The “skimming” equipment allegedly included pinhole cameras and electronic devices capable of recording bank customer information encoded on the magnetic stripe of credit and debit cards. The co-conspirators allegedly transferred the stolen card data to counterfeit bank cards and subsequently used that data to withdraw cash from the compromised accounts using various means. For example, on one occasion in January 2016, one of the defendants used counterfeit ATM cards encoded with stolen bank account information at four different Bank of America locations on the same day.
The co-conspirators are alleged to have stolen at least $428,000 from Bank of America customers in New Jersey.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation’s Newark, New Jersey, Division; U.S. Secret Service’s Boston and New York Field Offices; East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, Police Department; Cambridge, Massachusetts, Police Department; and Medford, Massachusetts, Police Department investigated the case with assistance from Bank of America Security and Fraud Section, PNC Bank Security Division and TD Bank. The Middlesex County, Massachusetts, District Attorney’s Office; U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of New York and U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Massachusetts Springfield Division assisted in the investigation and prosecution. Trial Attorney Marianne Shelvey of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly Graves of the District of New Jersey are prosecuting the case.