YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A Romanian extradited from Sweden week ago was indicted by a federal grand jury in Newark on charges that he orchestrated an ATM skimming scheme that cost banks $5 million in Englewood, Essex and Passaic counties, and New York, Connecticut and Florida.
Marius Vintila, 31 – also known as “Dan Girneata” – fled the country last July, as federal agents were rounding up accused members of his crew, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said. He was caught in Sweden on Sept. 24 and extradited to the U.S. earlier this month.
A six-count indictment, returned in U.S. District Court in Newark, accuses Vintila with several offenses, including conspiracy to commit bank fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to possess counterfeit access devices.
Fishman said Vintila was the ringleader of an extensive ATM skimming scheme that defrauded
Wells Fargo, Citibank, TD Bank and multiple other financial institutions by installing skimmers and pinhole cameras at bank ATMs in order to steal thousands of customer bank account numbers and PIN codes in 2012 and early 2013.
The victimized banks included the Citibank branch on Engle Street in Englewood, he said.
The electronic devices collect identity and account information from the ATM card’s magnetic strip, while the pinhole camera secretly records customers’ keystrokes as they enter their PINs.
Vintila and 30-year-old Bogdan Radu “created and constructed” the homemade skimming devices and taught others how to install them on bank ATMs, the U.S. Attorney said.
Crew members then “used hats, jackets, scarves and sunglasses to disguise themselves while installing the devices and while using the cards to withdraw money,” he said.
“After the account information was stolen, Vintila and his conspirators created false and fraudulent ATM cards, which they used to withdraw millions of dollars from customers’ bank accounts,” Fishman said.
Vintilla used the alias “Dan Girneata” to open bank accounts, rent vehicles, and rent multiple self-storage units, in which he stored the contents of an entire skimming operation, including skimming devices, pinhole cameras, super glue, tape, SD cards, batteries, computers, molds, fraudulent ATM cards, and cash proceeds, he said.
A dozen others have been charged in connection with the skimming scheme — many of them Romanian nationals who lived in and around Queens.
They include Ioan Leusca, 30, also known as “Ionel Spinu,” and 29-year-old Dezso Gyapias, also known as “Valentin Folea,” admitted that they worked with others to install the skimmers and pinhole cameras at the Citibank branch on Engle Street in Englewood and elsewhere.
Fishman praised special agents of the U.S. Secret Service’s Newark Field Office, along with special agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Newark.
Handling the case for the government are Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rahul Agarwal and David Eskew of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.
- THE ORIGINAL STORY (YOU READ IT HERE FIRST): Two Romanian natives from Queens admitted today that they used card-skimming devices to steal account information from bank customers at an ATM in Englewood and at several others throughout Essex and Passaic counties, as well as in New York and Connecticut. READ MORE ….
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