On July 22, 2016, A Romanian national was sentenced to 70 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $905,901.00 for his involvement in a conspiracy to defraud a financial institution and possessing device making equipment.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) made the announcement.
Sorin Condrache, 36, of Craiova, Romania previously pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud a financial institution in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349 and one count of possession of device making equipment in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1029(a)(4).
According to court documents, Condrache engaged in a scheme to defraud financial institutions referred to as “ATM skimming.” Condrache operated this scheme by placing skimming devices and pinhole cameras on SunTrust Bank ATMs located in Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina and Tennessee. The skimming devices fit over the ATMs’ card slots and recorded the data encoded on the bank customers’ debit cards. The skimming devices looked like part of the ATM so that customers were unaware that a device had been installed on the machine. At the same time, the pinhole camera surreptitiously recorded the customers’ personal identification numbers (the PINs). Condrache then made counterfeit debit cards by re-encoding the magnetic strips on other cards, such as gift cards, with the customers’ bank account information. The defendant then made unauthorized withdrawals from the customers’ bank accounts using the counterfeit debit cards and the customers’ PINs. In total, the defendant and his co-conspirators installed skimming devices on ATMs on 35 occasions and made withdrawals in the amount of $905,901.00
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia R. Wood.