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Press Release

Romanian National Sentenced for Stealing $80K from Credit Union Accounts

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Oklahoma

TULSA, Okla. – A Romanian national was sentenced today in federal court for conspiring with others to steal close to $80,000 from credit union customers’ accounts after installing skimmers and pinhole cameras on ATM machines in Yukon, Moore, south Oklahoma City and Tulsa, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson.

U.S. District Judge Claire V. Eagan sentenced Iancu Ovidiu Florea, 53, to time served plus five years of supervised release. He was further ordered to pay $79, 660 in restitution to Tinker Federal Credit Union.

Florea pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit financial institution fraud on Aug. 18, 2021.

Florea admitted in his plea agreement that he and codefendant Marinel Muchie, also a Romanian citizen, committed fraud against Tinker Federal Credit Union in July and August 2019. The credit union incurred losses totaling $79,660 from 110 compromised customer accounts.

The two defendants carried out their scheme by placing “skimming” devices, also called “shimmers,” into ATM machines at various Tinker Federal Credit Union locations in the Oklahoma City area and Tulsa. The skimmers were electronic devices that gathered and stored account data from ATM customers when they used their debit cards to conduct transactions at the ATMs. Florea admitted that the two installed tiny cameras at the ATMs that recorded the customer’s personal identification numbers (PINS) as the customers typed on the keypad to access their accounts.

The skimmers ran on power from the ATM and stored customers’ account information until the conspirators downloaded the information onto a card inserted into the ATMs. The pinhole cameras were powered by batteries and used SIM cards to store video. Florea stated in the plea agreement that he helped check the devices and also removed them from the ATMs.

Once the electronic account data was obtained by the skimmers and the PINs were recorded by the cameras, the defendants had enough information to create false access cards and used those to conduct fraudulent financial transactions at ATMs, withdrawing money from the credit union’s customer accounts. Floreau and his codefendant withdrew money from those accounts at ATMs in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Las Vegas, Nevada, usually about $80 to $100 per withdrawal. 

To cover their tracks, the codefendants used false identities to rent vehicles and places to stay. For example, Florea used the name “Joel Sterk” to rent a vehicle which he was driving when arrested by authorities in Illinois.

A Secret Service Task Force in Oklahoma City opened the investigation on Aug. 5, 2019, after the credit union reported finding skimmers on their ATMs. The Task Force was eventually able to track down the defendant in the rental car and contacted authorities in Elmhurst, Illinois, to inform them a suspect was in their jurisdiction. Elmhurst Police Officers stopped Florea for a traffic violation, and after a positive identification was made based on surveillance footage from Tinker Federal Credit Union, he was arrested. Secret Service Agents also discovered there was an FBI active arrest warrant for Florea in the Eastern District of Michigan. He was eventually convicted and sentenced there in regard to an earlier, unrelated fraudulent scheme.

Codefendant Muchie pleaded guilty Sept. 16, 2021 to conspiracy to commit financial institution fraud and aggravated identity theft. He will be sentenced on Feb. 1, 2022.

The U.S. Secret Service and Oklahoma City Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys David D. Whipple and Kevin C. Leitch conducted the investigation.


Public Affairs

Updated November 10, 2021

Financial Fraud