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Press Release

Romanian Woman Pleads Guilty For Her 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 Marinela Unguru-Ducila, of Romania, who was sentenced to time served by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara.  For her role in a bank fraud scheme operated by her husband Nicolae Sarbu.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie P. Grisanti, who is handling the case, stated that between August and November of 2015, Unguru-Ducila had knowledge but failed to report that Sarbu was engaged in a scheme to defraud Bank of America by using skimming devices and cameras on multiple occasions at automated teller machines (ATM’s) in the Buffalo and Rochester areas as well as in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  Sarbu, who has  pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft, faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 2 years and up to 20 years when he sentenced by Judge Arcara on May 17, 2017.

Unguru-Ducila was present with Nicolae Sarbu on several occasions when he installed or removed the skimmers and cameras. 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. 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. 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 total loss suffered by Bank of America as a result of this fraudulent activity was $183,120.54. 

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 April 27, 2017