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Six Broward County Residents Charged with Use of Fraudulent ATM Cards

U.S. Attorney’s Office

February 26, 2013

Southern District of Florida

(313) 226-9100

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Alysa D. Erichs, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Miami Field Office; Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office; Paula Reid, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service (USSS), Miami Field Office; Scott J. Israel, Sheriff, Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO); Anthony Strianese, Chief, Delray Beach Police Department; Grady Judd, Sheriff, Polk County Sheriff’s Office; Kevin Rambosk, Sheriff, Collier County Sheriff’s Office; Bill Prummell, Sheriff, Charlotte County Sherriff’s Office; and Ric L. Bradshaw, Sheriff, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, announce the filing of criminal complaints charging six defendants with conspiracy to commit access device fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1029(B)(2), (a)(1), and (a)(4), and conspiracy to commit bank fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1349 and 1344. Arrested on February 22 (Friday) were defendants Aris Chiciu, 23, of Fort Lauderdale; Eugen Bacelan, 29, of Fort Lauderdale; and Maurizio Margel, 19, of Fort Lauderdale. These defendants made their initial appearance in federal court on Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dave Lee Brannon. A detention hearing for these defendants is scheduled for Thursday, February 28, 2013, at 1:30 p.m. Defendants Neamtu Vaduva, 23; Alin Velcu, 24; and Antonio Dumitru, 19, remain at large.

According to the criminal complaints, the defendants were members of a group that engaged in ATM skimming throughout Florida. The defendants allegedly placed small portable card-reading devices, known as “skimming” devices, over or inside of the mouth of the card slot of ATM machines, as well as miniature camera. The skimming device read and stored the information encoded on the magnetic stripes of the debit or credit cards that were introduced in the ATM by legitimate bank customers, while the camera captured customers entering their personal identification numbers (PINs). The defendants would then remove the undetected skimming device and camera and used the information to create counterfeit ATM cards. These counterfeit ATM cards were then used in combination with the PINs to make unauthorized withdrawals from the legitimate bank customers’ accounts.

In total, the complaint alleges that, between December 23, 2012, and February 3, 2013, the members of this conspiracy placed or attempted to place skimmers on ATMs at a total of 18 bank branches, resulting in the theft of at least 407 bank customers’ information.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ICE-HSI, FBI, USSS, BSO, the Delray Beach Police Department, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, the Charlotte County Sherriff’s Office, and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Osborne.

A complaint is only an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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