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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 16, 2018

Two Romanian Nationals Sentenced for Racketeering Conspiracy and ATM Skimming

BOSTON – Two 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 York and South Carolina. 

Denisa Bonculescu, 27, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young to 21 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $43,082 and  forfeiture of $10,773.  In a separate hearing, Anamaria Margel, 24, was sentenced by Judge Young to 16 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $27,582 and forfeiture of $4,597. Bonculescu and Margel will face deportation proceedings upon completion of their sentences. In December 2017, Bonculescu and Margel pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, conspiracy to use counterfeit access devices and money laundering conspiracy.

In May 2017, Bonculescu and Margel were indicted in connection with the ATM skimming scheme along with 12 others.

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.

United States Attorney Andrew E. 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. 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 is prosecuting the case.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated March 16, 2018