ROMAINIAN BANK SKIMMER WHO STOLE FROM NY BANKS ARRESTED IN COLOMBIA

A Romanian man on Thursday, pled guilty to an indictment charging him with conspiring to steal bank customers’ account information and personal identification numbers by using skimming devices that were secretly installed on bank ATMs in New York State. The US Attorney’s office and the FBI in Albany, say 32 year old Gheorghe Cirstea has now pled guilty to charges related to ATM card skimming. Cirstea was taken into custody in Bogota, Colombia after an international warrant was issued for his arrest. He was then formally extradited by Colombian authorities to the Northern District of New York. As part of his guilty plea, Cirstea admitted that he and a co-conspirator used skimming devices and pinhole cameras to secretly capture the account numbers and PINs of customers who used ATMs at many northern New York banks. The skimming devices captured the information encoded on the magnetic strips of customers’ bank debit cards, while the pinhole cameras allowed them to record the PINs used by the customers. The men then used the information to steal approximately $127,000 from the customers’ accounts by making withdrawals at ATMs in New York City. His co-conspirator has already been sentenced to 48 months in prison. Now, Cirstea faces a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and then a term of supervised release of up to 3 years when he is sentenced on December 12th.