Feds Say They Nabbed 4 High-Tech Crooks

MANHATTAN (CN) – Four men were charged Monday with stealing more than $1.5 million from Citibank and JPMorgan Chase bank accounts by using “skimming” technology that stole data from customers who used ATMs and teller PIN pads. All four are in custody.

     Didi Theodor Ciulei and Laurentiu Mugurel Manta were arrest on May 29 in Chicago and are being sent to New York. Mihail Draghici and Ionel Dedulescu were arrested in December at the Miami International Airport and are in New York awaiting trial. All are citizens of Romania except Ciulei, who is Austrian.
     “One method the defendants and their co-conspirators allegedly used involved going into bank branches and surreptitiously replacing the bank’s teller PIN Pads with identical-looking PIN Pads equipped with technology that – unbeknownst to the banks and their customers – recorded the customer’s account-related information and corresponding PIN each time he or she used the compromised PIN Pads,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement. “The compromised PIN Pads were also equipped with technology that enabled the stolen account information to be accessed remotely. …
     “Another method the defendants and their co-conspirators allegedly used involved placing electronic skimming devices on the card readers located at the entrance to
     ATM vestibules and placing ATM PIN Pad Overlays … on top of the bank ATM’s PIN Pad. The Overlays were designed and fitted to look identical to the ATM PIN Pad beneath it, so that customers would not notice the presence of the Overlays and could still use the ATM. However, the Overlays were equipped with electronic equipment that recorded PIN numbers (sic) as they were entered into the ATM.”
     The men allegedly stole more than $1.5 million this way.
     All four are charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, conspiracy to commit access device fraud and aggravated identity theft.
     If convicted of all charges, they could each face more than 60 years in federal prison.

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