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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 24, 2019

Three Romanian Nationals Sentenced for Racketeering Conspiracy, ATM Skimming and Aggravated ID Theft

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

Ion Bonculescu, 26, Ion Vaduva, 39, and Florin Hornea, 38, were sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young to 50, 24, and 36 months in prison, respectively, and three years of supervised release each. Judge Young also ordered restitution in the amount of $80,292 for Bonculescu, $141,635 for Vaduva, and $209,894 for Hornea. The defendants will face deportation proceedings upon completion of their sentence.  

In October 2018, Vaduva pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, conspiracy to use counterfeit access devices, and aggravated identity theft. In a separate hearing, Ion Vaduva, 38, and Florin Hornea, 37, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity and conspiracy to use counterfeit access devices. Hornea also pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft. In May 2017, the defendants and eleven others were indicted in connection with the ATM skimming scheme. A superseding indictment later added another defendant.

The defendants, except for one, were members of the Hornea 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 in seven states, including Massachusetts. In particular, members of the Crew installed skimming devices in the following locations: Amherst, Bellingham, Billerica, Braintree, Chicopee, Quincy, Southwick, Waltham, Weymouth, and Whately, Mass.; Enfield, Conn.; Columbia, Greenville, Greenwood, Mauldin, and Saluda, S.C.; Savannah, Ga.; and Yadkinville, N.C.  The Crew made unauthorized withdrawals at ATMs in approximately 29 Massachusetts towns; seven Connecticut towns; six New York towns; Salem, N.H.; and Sumter, S.C.

Members of the Hornea Crew 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.

In May 2018, Constantin Hornea was sentenced to 65 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $242,141 in restitution and a money judgment of $54,260. 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 to pay $57,422 in restitution and a money judgment of $11,124.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, 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. Secret Service; U.S. Postal Service; Massachusetts Department of Correction; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; the Amherst, Billerica, Braintree, Boston, Quincy, Southwick, Waltham, Whately, and Westwood Police Departments; Connecticut State Police; Greenwich Police Department; the New York City Police Department; Houston Police Department; South Carolina Law Enforcement Division; Richland County (South Carolina) Sheriff’s Department; Florence and Saluda (South Carolina) Police Departments; 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 prosecuted the case.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Identity Theft
Component(s): 
Updated October 24, 2019