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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 14, 2018

Three Romanian Nationals Sentenced for Racketeering Conspiracy and ATM Skimming

BOSTON – Three Romanian nationals were sentenced today in federal court in Boston in connection with an ATM skimming scheme operating throughout Massachusetts and other states including Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York and South Carolina. 

Constantin Denis Hornea, 23, his wife Maria Lazar, 19, and his brother Ludemis Hornea, 21, were sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young. Judge Young sentenced Constantin Hornea to 65 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $242,141 in restitution and a money judgment of $54,260; Lazar was sentenced to 27 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $95,902 in restitution and a money judgment of $28,170; and Ludemis Hornea was sentenced to 42 months in prison, which includes credit for 15 months served on a state sentence, three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $57,422 in restitution and a money judgment of $11,124.

In December 2017, the Hornea brothers and Lazar pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly known as RICO conspiracy, conspiracy to use counterfeit access devices, money laundering conspiracy and aggravated identity theft. The Hornea brothers also pleaded guilty to possession of device making equipment. In May 2017, the Hornea brothers, Lazar and 11 co-conspirators were indicted in connection with the scheme. In March 2018, co-conspirators Denisa Bonculescu, Anamaria Margel and Ion Trifu were sentenced. Claudio Cosmin Florea and Nicusor Bonculescu are pending sentencing; Ion Bonculescu is in extradition proceedings in Germany; Ion Vaduva is in extradition proceedings in Hungary; and Florinel Vaduva and Florin Hornea are pending trial scheduled for Nov. 5, 2018. The whereabouts of Dragush Nelo Hornea and Nemanja Milosavljevic remain unknown.

The defendants, except for Trifu, were members of the Hornea Crew (“Crew”), led by Constantin Denis Hornea and Ludemis Hornea, and engaged in ATM skimming – obtaining debit card numbers and PINs from unsuspecting bank customers, creating counterfeit cards, and making unauthorized withdrawals from the victims’ bank accounts. Over a period of 18 months, the Crew installed skimming devices and made unauthorized withdrawals from ATMs in various town in seven states: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York, South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia.

Members of the Hornea Crew and Trifu transferred money throughout the United States and to Romania and the People’s Republic of China. Some of those transfers were for the purchase of skimming devices and related components from abroad.

United States Attorney Andrew Lelling; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, made the announcement today.  Assistance with the investigation was also provided by the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; U.S. Secret Service; U.S. Postal Service; Massachusetts Department of Correction; Connecticut State Police; the Amherst, Billerica, Braintree, Boston, Florence (S.C.); Greenwich (Conn.), Houston (Texas) New York City (N.Y.), Quincy, Saluda (S.C.), Southwick, Waltham, Whately, and Westwood Police Departments; South Carolina Law Enforcement Division; Richland County (S.C.) Sheriff’s Department; and the Solicitor’s Offices of Greenville and Saluda Counties.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy E. Moran of Lelling’s Organized Crime and Gang Unit is prosecuting the case.

The details contained in the charging document are allegations.  The remaining defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated May 14, 2018