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Press Release

Romanian Sentenced For Role In Fraud Scheme

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

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns
PHONE:         (716) 843-5817
FAX:            (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y.-Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Nicolae Sarbu, of Romania, who was convicted of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft, was sentenced to 25 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. The defendant was also ordered to pay restitution to the Bank of America in the amount of $183,120.54. In addition, co-defendant Marinela Unguru-Ducila, also of Romania, was sentenced to time served upon her prior plea of guilty.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie P. Grisanti, who handled the case, stated that between August 2015 and November 2015, Sarbu conspired with Marinela Unguru-Ducila and others to execute a scheme to defraud Bank of America. The defendants used skimming devices and cameras on 10 occasions at automated teller machines (ATM’s) in the Buffalo and Rochester areas and in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Bank account information and personal identification numbers (PIN’s) were recorded without the true account holder’s knowledge or authorization and then used to make unauthorized withdrawals of cash from various ATM’s in the Western District of New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. A skimmer is a device used unlawfully to record bank account information from a customer’s debit card when the card is inserted into an ATM. Defendant Sarbu also encoded the bank account information obtained by the skimmers onto magnetic strips on blank plastic cards and gift cards. Unguru-Ducila was present with Sarbu when he installed skimmers at multiple banks in North Tonawanda, NY and West Seneca, NY and failed to notify authorities about this felony crime.   

The sentencing is the result of an investigation by immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland security investigations, under the direction of Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly.  

Updated November 7, 2017