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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Louisiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 24, 2020

Romanian Pleads Guilty to Attempted Bank Fraud Using an ATM Skimming Device

LAKE CHARLES, La. United States Attorney David C. Joseph announced that a Romanian citizen pleaded guilty to attempted bank fraud on Tuesday morning, July 21, 2020, admitting that he used an ATM skimming device in an attempt to steal money from the City Savings Bank in Deridder, Louisiana. U.S. District Judge James D. Cain, Jr. presided over the hearing.

As part of his plea agreement, Gigi Velcu, 37, admitted that he attempted to defraud and intended to defraud the bank’s customers by using skimming equipment, including a camera, at the bank’s ATM. The skimming equipment was used to collect bank customer card data and the camera recorded the keypad as customers entered their PINs.

After receiving a complaint from City Savings Bank, the DeRidder Police Department initiated surveillance of the ATM. Velcu was seen on the surveillance video inserting a card into the ATM’s reader in order to activate the harvesting of the bank account numbers contained on the skimming device’s hard drive. Velcu further admitted that the bank account information and video recordings of the PINs would have been used to create counterfeit debit cards which would then be used to make purchases and obtain cash.

At sentencing on October 15, 2020, Velcu faces 30 years in prison, a $1,000,000 fine, five years of supervised release, and possible deportation.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the DeRidder Police Department investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney David J. Ayo is prosecuting the case.

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The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Identity Theft
Updated July 24, 2020