Romanian Man Indicted in Capital Region ATM Skimming Conspiracy
Defendant Accused of Using Hidden Devices and Cameras to Steal Bank Customers’ Account Information and PINs
ALBANY, NEW YORK – Ilie Sitariu, age 36, a Romanian national, was indicted yesterday for conspiring to steal account information and personal identification numbers (PINs) by using skimming devices that he secretly installed on bank ATMs in the Capital Region and the Berkshires.
The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Richard S. Hartunian and Andrew W. Vale, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Sitariu was arrested in October 2015 on a criminal complaint and has been in custody since then.
According to the indictment, from August 30, 2015 through October 24, 2015, Sitariu and a co-conspirator used skimming devices and pinhole cameras to secretly capture the account numbers and PINs of customers who used ATMs at First Niagara Bank, Trustco Bank, and Berkshire Bank branches in Chatham, New York, Delmar, New York, and Great Barrington, Massachusetts, respectively. The skimming devices captured the information encoded on the magnetic strips of customers’ bank debit cards, while the pinhole cameras allowed Sitariu and a co-conspirator to record the PINs used by the customers. Sitariu and a co-conspirator then used the information to steal money from the customers’ accounts by making withdrawals at ATMs in New York City.
The charges in the indictment are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Sitariu is accused of conspiring to commit bank fraud, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft. If convicted on all charges, Sitariu faces at least 2 years and up to 30 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of post-imprisonment supervised release of up to 5 years. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.
This case is being investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Emmet O’Hanlon.