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15th Defendant Cops Plea In $5M ATM Skim Scheme That Hit Englewood Bank

Alin Carabus
Alin Carabus Photo Credit: INSET: Courtesy ESSEX COUNTY JAIL

ENGLEWOOD, N.J. -- A native of Romania who was arrested in Spain and extradited to the United States admitted his role Thursday in one of the largest ATM skimming schemes in history -- one that stole $5 million from banks in Englewood and elsewhere.

Alin Carabus, 42, pleaded guilty in Newark federal court to an indictment charging him with conspiracy to commit bank fraud through secret card-reading devices and pinhole cameras installed on ATMs throughout New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Florida, and elsewhere.

That makes 15 convictions out of 16 defendants originally charged in the ring, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman noted.

Just about all of them took guilty pleas – including another Romanian native, ringleader Marius “Dan Girneata” Vintila, who was arrested in Sweden -- rather than risk having their co-defendants testify against them.

Another crew member, Bogdan Radu, admitted helping design and construct the ATM skimming devices used during a large portion of the scheme.

Co-defendant Emil Revesz admitted that he was one of the conspirators who installed skimmers and pinhole cameras at bank ATMs in order to steal thousands of customer bank account numbers and PIN codes in 2012 and early 2013.

(The electronic devices collected identity and account information from the ATM card’s magnetic strip, while the pinhole camera secretly recorded customers’ keystrokes as they entered their PINs.)

Crew members used the stolen data to create thousands of fraudulent ATM cards, which they used to withdraw cash from the accounts of thousands of customers at Wells Fargo, Citibank, and TD Bank branches throughout New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.

The victimized banks included the Citibank branch on Engle Street in Englewood.

Crew members used hats, jackets, scarves and sunglasses to disguise themselves while installing the devices and while using the cards to withdraw money, the government said.

Fishman said Vintilla and others stored the contents of an entire skimming operation, including skimming devices, pinhole cameras, super glue, tape, SD cards, batteries, computers, molds, fraudulent ATM cards, and cash proceeds, in various self-storage unites.

Co-defendants Marius Cortiga and Constantin Ginga admitted that they and others stole approximately $985,000 from Citibank ATMs in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.

Various other crew members also admitted their roles in the operation.

Fishman praised special agents of the U.S. Secret Service’s Newark Field Office, along with special agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Newark. He also thanked Englewood police for their assistance.

Handling the case for the government are Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rahul Agarwal and David Eskew of Fishman’s Criminal Division in Newark.

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