$5M ATM skimming scheme lands Romanian man in federal prison

NEWARK -- A Romanian man was sentenced to nearly 5 years in prison Thursday after admitting his role in what prosecutors called the largest ATM skimming operation ever uncovered by law enforcement. An ATM skimming device in a file photo. Alin...

$5M ATM skimming scheme lands Romanian man in federal prison

NEWARK -- A Romanian man was sentenced to nearly 5 years in prison Thursday after admitting his role in what prosecutors called the largest ATM skimming operation ever uncovered by law enforcement.

An ATM skimming device in a file photo.

Alin Carabus, 43, was involved in a $5 million scheme that installed card-reading devices and pinhole cameras on ATMs to steal bank account information from thousands of customers, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.

The secret devices were installed on ATMs in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Florida and other states, he added. 

Carabus, who was arrested in Spain and extradited to the U.S., previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William J. Martini to a charge of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. He was sentenced Thursday to 4 years and 9 months in prison.

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Martini also sentenced Carabus to five years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $5 million in restitution. Carabus is one of 16 individuals charged in the skimming scheme. Fifteen of the 16 charged individuals have been convicted, authorities said. 

Marius Vintila, 34, also a Romanian national, organized the operation, authorities said. Vintila and Bogdan Radu, 34, designed the card-reading devices that Carabus and others later installed on ATMs, authorities said. 

The stolen information was used to create thousands of ATM cards and withdraw millions from customer's accounts with Citibank, TD Bank, Wells Fargo and others, authorities said. 

Carabus' attorney, Joseph Corazza, did not immediately return a call for comment.

 Karen Yi may be reached at kyi@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at @karen_yi or on Facebook

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