NEWARK, N.J. – One suspect in a twelve-man operation pleaded guilty to charges of using skimming devices and pinhole cameras installed at ATMs to defraud PNC and Bank of America customers out of more than $400,000, according to a news release from the U.S. Justice Department.
During a Newark federal court hearing on Tuesday, Joel Abel Garcia, 35, a U.S. citizen from Bronx, New York, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, which makes him the third out of 13 defendants charged in the ATM skimming crime to plead guilty.
Victor Hanganu, 35, a Romanian immigrant living in Bayside, New York, pleaded guilty on April 10, 2017 to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
Sentencing for Garcia is scheduled for Aug. 2, 2017 and faces up to 30 years in prison. Hanganu is set to appear in court July 31, 2017.
The third suspect who pleaded guilty to the same charges on March 29, 2017 was a Romanian citizen named Radu Marin, 36, living in Glendale, New York.
Member of ATM Skimming Conspiracy Pleads Guilty for Targeting Multiple New Jersey Bank Locations https://t.co/Rz6STjpBsM
— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) April 18, 2017
The scheme was carried out between March 2015 and July 2016 and allegedly sought to defraud financial institutions and their customers by illegally obtaining account numbers and personal identification numbers.
Garcia and Hanganu admitted to the court they installed electronic devices at multiple ATMs throughout New Jersey, which included pinhole cameras and “skimming” devices capable of recording bank customer information encoded on the magnetic stripe of credit and debit cards.
The conspirators then transferred the stolen card data to more than 10 counterfeit ATM cards to fraudulently withdraw cash from customers’ bank accounts, which resulted in losses of $428,581.
Of the total amount stolen, Garcia was responsible for $132,805, says the court document.
H/T: U.S. Dept of Justice
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