Twelve people were charged in federal court Wednesday with allegedly executing a scheme to defraud customers of Bank of America and PNC Bank through conduct known as “ATM skimming.”
These charges resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with the support of the U.S. Secret Service’s Boston and New York Field Office, the police departments for the Massachusetts cities of Longmeadow, Cambridge and Medford, and the New York City Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit.
The charges were announced following the arrest of 11 of the individuals, which spanned several states.
(Courtesy of CBS This Morning and YouTube)
Criminal complaints filed in the District of New Jersey name the following individuals:
- Bogdan Viorel Rusu, 36, of Howard Beach, New York
- Marcel Peckham, aka Marcel Enescu Cismas, 43, of Little Neck, New York
- Catalin Mihai Dragomir, 32, of Glendale, New York
- Eduard Vasilica Ticu, 28, also of Glendale
- Stefan Dumitru, 28, of Astoria, New York
- Fnu Lnu, aka Zoltan Nagy, 39, of Bayside, New York
- Silvester Florentin Papp, 24, of Ridgewood, New York
- Joel Abel Garcia, 34, of Bronx, New York
- Gabriel Mares, 43, of College Point, New York
- Florian Calin Crainic, 46, of Des Plaines, Illinois
- Florin Mares, 48, of College Point, New York
- Vasilica Adrian Hanganu, 35, of Bayside, New York
Each is charged by complaint with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. All of the defendants have been arrested with the exception of Lnu, who remains at large.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, the co-conspirators – led by Rusu – sought to defraud financial institutions and their customers by illegally obtaining customer account information, including account numbers and personal identification numbers.
Between March 2015 and July 2016, the co-conspirators allegedly installed electronic equipment at ATMs at several banks across New Jersey.
The equipment, which included pinhole cameras and electronic devices capable of recording bank customer information encoded on the magnetic stripe of credit and debit cards, allegedly captured personal identifying and bank account information of 4,350 bank customers.
The co-conspirators allegedly transferred the stolen card data to counterfeit bank cards and subsequently used that data to withdraw cash from the compromised accounts using various means.
For example, on one occasion in January 2016, one of the defendants used counterfeit ATM cards encoded with stolen bank account information at four different Bank of America locations on the same day.
The co-conspirators are alleged to have stolen at least $428,000 from more than 600 Bank of America customers in New Jersey.
These charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.