Member Of Large-Scale ‘ATM Skimming’ Scheme Pleads Guilty To Bank Fraud Conspiracy
NEWARK, N.J. – A native of Romania who was arrested in Spain and extradited to the United States today admitted his role in a conspiracy to steal bank account information from thousands of customers by installing secret card-reading devices and pinhole cameras on ATMs throughout New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Florida, and elsewhere, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Alin Carabus, 42, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William J. Martini in Newark federal court to Count One of an indictment charging him with conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
According to documents filed in this and other cases as well as statements made in court:
Carabus admitted he was part of a vast “ATM skimming” scheme that stole bank account information by installing secret card-reading devices on ATMs throughout New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Florida, and elsewhere. The scheme, which ultimately defrauded Citibank, TD Bank, Wells Fargo, and multiple other financial institutions out of at least $5 million and impacted thousands of customers, was organized by Marius Vintila, 34, also a native of Romania.
Vintila and Bogdan Radu, 34, designed and constructed sophisticated card-reader devices and pinhole camera panels capable of reading and storing customers’ bank account information and personal identification numbers. Carabus and others then secretly installed devices onto bank ATMs and removed them a few days later after they had recorded customer bank account information as customers performed routine bank transactions at ATMs.
The stolen data was used to create thousands of fraudulent ATM cards, which Carabus and others used to withdraw millions of dollars from customers’ bank accounts.
The conspiracy to commit bank fraud charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 23, 2017.
The ATM skimming operation in which Carabus participated is one of the largest ever uncovered by law enforcement. To date, 15 of the 16 individuals that have been charged in connection with this scheme, including Carabus, Vintila and Radu, have been convicted.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the U.S. Secret Service, Newark Field
Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Mark McKevitt, and special agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Terence S. Opiola in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rahul Agarwal of the Special Prosecutions Division and David M. Eskew of the Criminal Division in Newark.
Defense Counsel: Joseph M. Corazza Esq., Sparta, New Jersey