Roanoke-Area ATM Scammer Sentenced to Additional 18 Months in Prison
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia
ROANOKE, Va. – A member of a Romanian criminal organization, who traveled to the United States to conduct ATM skimming, was sentenced today to serve 18 months in prison, bringing his total period of incarceration for his offenses to 54 months.
Catalin Puscasu, 40, pleaded guilty in September 2022 to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft.
According to court documents, between December 2018 and March 2019, Puscasu and others worked together to obtain personal identifying information, including debit and credit card numbers as well as PINs from bank customers and used that data to make unauthorized cash withdrawals from the accounts of these victims and use the victims’ credit for their personal gain.
Specifically, this group used “skimming devices” installed on ATMs at federally-insured banks throughout the Western District of Virginia to steal customers’ PINS and account numbers using small hidden cameras. They then took this information, re-encoded it onto blank cards, and used those cards to withdraw money.
In March 2019, Puscasu was arrested in Michigan for committing similar offenses. After serving 36 months in prison in the Eastern District of Michigan, he was returned to the Western District of Virginia to be sentenced for his fraudulent activity in and around the Roanoke area.
In addition to prison time, Puscasu was also ordered to pay restitution to the impacted banks.
United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh made the announcement.
The United States Secret Service, the Botetourt County Sheriff’s Office, the Roanoke County Police Department, the Campbell County Police Department, the Henry County Sheriff’s Office, the Farmville Police Department, the Patrick County Sheriff’s Office, the Blacksburg Police Department, and the Lynchburg Police Department investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Coleman Adams prosecuted the case.
Updated February 13, 2023