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Press Release

Ringleader Of $5 Million ATM Skimming Scheme Sentenced To More Than 10 Years In Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – A native of Romania who was arrested in Sweden and extradited to the United States was sentenced today to 121 months in prison for directing a large-scale scheme that stole bank account information through a process commonly referred to as “ATM skimming,” in which conspirators secretly installed card-reading devices on ATMs throughout New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Florida, and elsewhere, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Marius Vintila, a/k/a “Dan Girneata,” 32, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William J. Martini to Count One of a superseding indictment, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and Count Two, aggravated identity theft. Judge Martini imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

In July 2013, as federal agents in New Jersey arrested various members of his large-scale ATM skimming scheme, Vintila fled the United States. On Sept. 24, 2013, he was apprehended in Sweden and subsequently extradited to the United States. Vintila has been held without bail since his arrival in the United States in February 2014.  

According to documents filed in this and other cases and statements made in court:

Vintila was the ringleader of an extensive ATM skimming scheme that targeted thousands of bank customers and defrauded Citibank, TD Bank, Wells Fargo, and multiple other financial institutions out of at least $5 million.

Vintila and his conspirators constructed sophisticated card-reader devices capable of reading and storing customers’ bank account information as the customers performed routine bank transactions at ATMs. Vintila and his conspirators also concealed pinhole cameras in panels designed to match existing ATM components. Vintila then taught and directed several conspirators to install the devices on ATMs. Once installed, the card-reader devices secretly read identity and account information contained on the magnetic strip of customer ATM cards. The pinhole cameras recorded customer keystrokes as they entered their personal identification numbers.

After the account information was stolen, Vintila and his conspirators used the stolen data to create thousands of fraudulent ATM cards, which they used to withdraw millions of dollars from customers’ bank accounts. Vintila also used an alias, “Dan Girneata,” to open bank accounts, rent vehicles and rent multiple self-storage units where he stored skimming devices, pinhole cameras, super glue, tape, SD cards, batteries, computers, molds, fraudulent ATM cards, and cash proceeds. Vintila also provided other conspirators with fake passports and aliases to use in furtherance of the scheme.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Martini ordered Vintila to serve two years of supervised release and pay restitution of $7,447,270.50. Of the 16 people charged in this scheme, 13 have been convicted.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the U.S. Secret Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Carl Agnelli, along with special agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Newark Division, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Kevin Kelly, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rahul Agarwal of the Special Prosecutions Division and David M. Eskew of the Criminal Division, Economic Crimes Unit, in Newark.

Defense Counsel: Brian Neary Esq., Hackensack, New Jersey

Updated July 7, 2015

Press Release Number: 15-260