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Romanian Citizen Pleads Guilty To ATM Skimming Scheme Involving People's United Bank In Madison

Adrian Mitan Pleads Guilty To Removing PIN-Capturing Device Later Used To Withdraw Cash; More than $200,000 Stolen In Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York And New Jersey

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced Wednesday that Adrian Mitan, 30, a citizen of Romania, pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Janet C. Hall to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud stemming from his participation in a multistate ATM “skimming” scheme.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Mitan and others conspired to install “skimming” devices on automated teller machines (“ATMs”), and on card swipe access devices used by banks to control access to ATM lobby doors, in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey.  The devices were able to capture the information encoded on the magnetic strips of bank cards used by ATM customers, Fein said in a prepared release.

They also placed devices on the ATMs that contained hidden pinhole cameras, which were positioned in such a way as to be able to record the personal identification numbers that bank customers keyed into the ATMs to gain access to their accounts.  The group then used this stolen information to create counterfeit bank cards that allowed them to withdraw funds from the customers’ accounts.

As part of the scheme, on September 4, 2009, Mitan removed a pin-capturing device from a People’s United Bank ATM in Madison that had previously been installed by co-conspirators Ion Preda and Marius Olustean.  Preda and Olustean then used cloned ATM cards and stolen PINs to withdraw cash from compromised People’s United Bank accounts.  Earlier, in June 2009, Mitan’s co-conspirators placed skimming devices and pinhole cameras at a Wachovia Bank ATM in Philadelphia, Penn.

Other banks and account holders also were victimized during the scheme, which resulted in a combined loss to all of the victim banks of more than $200,000.

Judge Hall has scheduled sentencing for July 11, 2011, at which time Mitan faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years.

Olustean and Preda each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.  On March 9, 2011, Olustean was sentenced to 41 months of imprisonment.  Preda awaits sentencing.

Two other co-conspirators, Dragos Osanu and Nelut Ady Oana, also pleaded guilty and were sentenced to prison terms of 46 months and 15 months, respectively.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Douglas P. Morabito and Susan L. Wines.

This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force, notably the United States Secret Service and the Greenwich Police Department.  The Task Force also includes members of the United States Postal Inspection Service; the United States Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security; the Connecticut State Police; and the Glastonbury, Hartford, New Haven and Shelton Police Departments.

U.S. Attorney Fein specifically recognized the Spanish National Police; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service’s Office of Fraud Detection and National Security, the Virginia State Police and the Indiana State Police for their assistance in the investigation and prosecution of this matter.  People’s United Bank also assisted the investigation.

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