BEYOND BERGEN: Federal jurors today convicted a Chicago man for his role in one of the largest ATM skimming schemes in history, one that stole $5 million from banks in Englewood and elsewhere.
Dinu Horvat, 28, was convicted on four counts: conspiracy to commit bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, conspiracy to possess 15 or more counterfeit access devices and conspiracy to possess access device-making equipment following a one-week trial.
Jurors deliberated for about two hours before returning the verdict.
The verdict comes less than two months after Marius “Dan Girneata” Vintila, a native of Romania who was arrested in Sweden and extradited to the U.S., admitted directing the scehem.
Vintila was one of 11 people who took guilty pleas in the case.
Bogdan Radu, who was charged separately, admitted helping design and construct the ATM skimming devices used during a large portion of the scheme.
Another 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.)
Revesz said he and his associates then used counterfeit ATM cards to withdraw cash from 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.
U.S. Attorney Paul J. 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. Other crew members — Enes Causevic, Constantin Pendus, Ioan Leusca and Dezso “Valentin Folea” Gyapias all — admitted their roles in the operation.
Others charged in the case — Florin Apetrei, Luis Franco, and Mirel Hadzalic — admitted using the fraudulent ATM cards to withdraw cash.
Causevic, Cotiga, Ginga, Gyapias, Leusca and Revesz all pleaded guilty to bank fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft charges. Apetrei, Cotiga, Pendus, Franco and Hadzalic pleaded guilty to bank fraud conspiracy.
Ginga, Gyapias and Leusca each was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison. Franco and Pendus each got 33 months, Hadzalic received 34 months and Apetrei 24.
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 assisting in Ginga’s arrest.
Handling the case for the government are Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rahul Agarwal and David Eskew of Fishman’s Criminal Division in Newark.