Romanian Man Pleads Guilty in Capital Region ATM Skimming Conspiracy
ALBANY, NEW YORK – Ilie Sitariu, age 37, a citizen of Romania, pled guilty today to stealing about $127,000 through the use of skimming devices that were secretly installed on several bank ATMs in the Capital Region.
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).
As part of his guilty plea, Sitariu admitted that from August 30, 2015 through October 24, 2015, he and a co-conspirator used skimming devices and pinhole cameras to secretly capture the account numbers and personal identification numbers (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. The skimming devices captured the information encoded on the magnetic strips of customers’ bank debit cards, while the pinhole cameras allowed the conspirators to record the PINs used by the customers at ATMs. The conspirators then used the information to steal approximately $127,000 from the customers’ accounts by making withdrawals at ATMs in New York City.
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 3 years when he is sentenced on May 10, 2017 by Senior United States District Judge Lawrence E. Kahn. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statutes the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors.
This case was investigated by the FBI, with assistance from the New York State Police and the U.S. Secret Service, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Emmet O’Hanlon.