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Press Release

Romanian National Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy and Credit Card Skimming Case

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Paul N. Batinas, 31, of Romania, pleaded guilty today to charges of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

In a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Batinas acknowledged that from June 2014 through his arrest in September 2015, he and several others installed skimming devices and cameras on Navy Federal Credit Union ATMs located throughout the Eastern District of Virginia and elsewhere.  Batinas and his co-conspirators used these devices to capture the debit and credit card account numbers and PIN access codes of others, which they later used to make unauthorized withdrawals from the compromised accounts.  Batinas and his co-conspirators accessed these accounts by re-encoding the account numbers onto other cards, such as gift cards, and using those cards and the associated PINs at ATMs belonging to other financial institutions.  Batinas is responsible for compromising more than 3,700 debit and credit cards from which conspirators withdrew approximately $550,000.

Batinas was indicted by a federal grand jury on Sept. 10, 2015, and faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, as well as a mandatory consecutive two years in prison on the aggravated identity theft charge, when he is sentenced on April 28, 2016. The maximum and minimum statutory sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia;  John S. Adams, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Office, Douglas Mease, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service Richmond Office and George Purefoy, Resident Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service Norfolk Office, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert J. Krask.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian J. Samuels and Kaitlin C. Gratton are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:15cr63.

Updated January 22, 2016

Financial Fraud
Identity Theft