Two Romanian Nationals Sentenced to Prison for Scheme to Steal Payment Card Data
Adrian-Tiberiu Oprea, 29, of Constanta, Romania, and Iulian Dolan, 28, of Craiova, Romania, were sentenced today to serve 15 years and seven years in prison, respectively, for participating in an international, multimillion-dollar scheme to remotely hack into and steal payment card data from hundreds of U.S. merchants’ computers, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney John P. Kacavas of the District of New Hampshire; and Holly Fraumeni, Resident Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service, Manchester, N.H., Resident Office.
On May 7, 2013, Oprea, who was extradited to the United States from Romania, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit access device fraud. On Sept. 17, 2012, Dolan pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit access device fraud.
Court documents state that, from approximately 2009 to 2011, Oprea conspired with Dolan and Cezar Butu, 27, of Ploiesti, Romania, to hack into hundreds of computers located in the United States to steal credit, debit and payment account numbers and associated data (collectively “payment card data”) that belonged to U.S. cardholders.
According to court documents, Oprea and Dolan remotely hacked into hundreds of U.S. merchants’ point-of-sale (POS) or “check out” computer systems, where customers’ payment card data was electronically stored. Specifically, Oprea, who was the leader of the scheme, and Dolan, who was his trusted aide, first used the Internet to identify U.S.-based vulnerable POS systems. After identifying a vulnerable system, Oprea and Dolan would gain access and install software programs called “keystroke loggers” (or “sniffers”) onto the POS systems. These programs would record, and then store, all of the data that was keyed into or swiped through the merchants’ POS systems, including customers’ payment card data.
Oprea and Dolan retrieved the card data and then electronically transferred it to various electronic storage locations (“dump sites”) that Oprea had set up. Oprea later attempted to use the stolen payment card data to make unauthorized charges on, or transfers of funds from, the accounts. He also attempted to transfer the stolen payment card data to other co-conspirators for them to use in a similar manner. During the course of the conspiracies, the co-conspirators hacked into several hundred U.S. merchants’ POS systems, including 250 Subway restaurant franchises, and stole payment card data belonging to more than 100,000 U.S. cardholders. Their criminal conduct caused losses of at least $17.5 million in unauthorized charges and remediation expenses.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, with assistance from the New Hampshire State Police and Romanian authorities.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Mona Sedky of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Arnold H. Huftalen of the District of New Hampshire. Significant assistance was provided by the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs.