18 Members of ATM Skimmer Gang Arrested — Mostly Romanian

DOJ Press Release: 18 Members of International Fraud and Money Laundering Conspiracy

The Southern District of New York brought charges on 18 people for their involvement in an ATM Skimming ring that planted hundreds of skimming devices in at least 17 states and stole more than $20 Million dollars.  Those charged, from the DOJ Press Release about the ATM Skimming organization, are listed below.  The operation involved many cooperating agencies, including the FBI, Customs and Border Protection, the NYPD, the US Postal Inspection Service, INTERPOL-Rome, INTERPOL-Mexico City, and Mexico’s Agencia de Investigación Criminal and Instituto Nacional de Migración.

What the press release does NOT make clear is the ties to Intercash, the largest Romanian ATM Skimming ring in history, and the primary reason that when you see “Skimming arrests” in the United States, they will almost always involve Romanians.

LIMBERATOS, COSTEA, LYMBERATOS, ELIOPOULOS, SAMOLIS, LAM, and MIHAILESCU were arrested in and around Manhattan on October 10, 2019.

M. CONSTANTINESCU, CALUGARU, I. CONSTANTINESCU, and SERBAN were arrested in Miami on October 10, 2019.

MARTIN (Pictured here as “Florian M”) was arrested in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  Although he was the only one charged in the SDNY case, he was actually arrested as the leader of a group of 7 Romanians all arrested together in Mexico.  In Romanian news, he is described as “the brother of Rechinu”.  Rechinu, which means “shark” in Romanian, is believed by the Romanians to be the big boss of an international skimmer ring, named Florian Tudor.  Brian Krebs, the world’s leading investigative  security journalist, shared many more details about Rechinu’s gang in April 2019, in a follow-up to his three part series about Instacash – a Romanian crime syndicate that dominates the skimming world. That KrebsOnSecurity story, “Alleged Chief of Romanian ATM Skimming Gang Arrested in Mexico” includes many details learned by interviewing the brother of a bodyguard that was assassinated by Tudor.

Romanian press says that Rechinu was also a human smuggler, helping “hundreds of Romanians” migrate to Mexico using counterfeit documents and then cross the border into the United States to participate in criminal activity.  Not only did Rechinu run an enormous international crime ring, but through shell companies, he was the owner of a company in Mexico that installed and maintained ATM machines for banks in Mexico!  Using the knowledge and access his employees gained by having “legitimate” access to such equipment, it is no wonder that InterCash dominated the skimming market!

Tudor Florian has managed his network, most of the time, in Mexico, under the screen of some companies that set up ATMs and ensure their maintenance! On the legally installed ATMs, skimming devices were mounted, which copied the cards of the people who were making money. 

“After fraudulently obtaining the computer data, teams were made up of other members of the group who traveled to other states such as USA, India, Paraguay, Indonesia, etc., from which they withdrew the existing amounts of money in the bank accounts related to electronic payment instruments. copied ”, claims DIICOT.  — Translated from the Libertatea.ro story “DIICOT Release: The Shark Clan in Craiova had companies that legally set up ATMs in Mexico, where they later cloned the cards!

(Libertatea – “Freedom!” – ran a month-long series of investigative reports about this crime family that they dub “the Shark Clan”, including their long involvement with another Romanian crime family that sold them underage girls for sex trafficking)

VIDRASAN was arrested in Perugia, Italy.

PETRESCU, DIACONU, ANCA, and ULMANU were already in custody on other charges and will be later transferred to New York.

The charges were brought in three separate indictments.  Mircea CONSTANTINESCU, Nikolaos LIMBERATOS, Cristian COSTEA, Alin Hanes CALUGARU, Ionela CONSTANTINESCU, Theofrastos LYMBERATOS, Andrew ELIOPOULOS, Valentin PETRESCU, Peter SAMOLIS, Kelly Karki LAM, George SERBAN, Dragos DIACONU, Madlin Alexandru ANCA, Cristian ULMANU, and Iuliana MIHAILESCU were charged in the first indictment with:

  • 18 USC Sections 1029(a)(1), (a)(2), (a)(3), (a)(4), and (a)(5) – access device fraud 
  • 18 USC Section 1029(a)(1) producing and trafficking in counterfeit access devices
  • 18 USC Section 1029(a)(2) using a counterfeit access device to obtain a thing of value
  • 18 USC Section 1029(a)(3) aggravated identity theft (possessing with intent to obtain a thing of value more than 15 counterfeit access devices
  • 18 USC Section 1029(a)(4) producing, trafficking in, having custody and control of and possessing counterfeit access device-making equipment
  • 18 USC Section 1029(a)(5) conducting transactions with access devices issued to another person to receive payment exceeding $1,000 in a single year.  (Yep, $20M > $1,000)
  • 18 USC Section 1343  Bank Fraud , Wire Fraud, 
  • 18 USC Section 1349  obtaining money from FDIC insured institutions by means of false and fraudulent pretenses 
  • 18 USC Sections 1028(a)(1), (b), and 2.
  • 18 USC 1956(a)(1)(A)(i) conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud 
  • 18 USC  1956(a)(1)(B)(i)  conspiracy to commit access device fraud 
  • 18 USC  1957(a) conspiracy to commit wire fraud 
CONSTANTINESCU shipped a credit card point of sale terminal from Mt. Pocono, Pennsylvania to Veracruz, Mexico for the purpose of having a custom skimmer created for the terminal. SERBAN shipped skimmers from Miami to Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania.
Others installed skimmers in at least Babylon, NY (N. LIMBERATOS); Canterbury, CT (CALUGARU); Manchester, NH (T. LYMBERATOS); Glen Cover, Westbury, and Whitestone (ELIOPOULOS), NY; Boston, MA (PETRESCU); Queens, NY (SAMOLIS); Somerville, MA (ULMANU); Boston, Brookline, Sturbridge, Brighton, and Natick, MA (MIHAILESCU).
Others used cards to withdraw funds using counterfeit ATM cards coded with the magnetic stripes stolen by the gang’s skimmers in at least New York City, NY (CONSTANTINESCU), Chattanooga and Ooltewah, TN (DIACONU,  ANCA); 
Others arranged the cash deposits and withdrawals to launder the funds (LAM)
A second indictment separately charges Raul Ionut VIDRASAN with many of the same charges.
A third indictment separately charges Florian Claudia MARTIN (and his host of aliases) and Alex DONATI. Specifically MARTIN is charged with installing a skimming device on an ATM in a hotel in Manhattan.  DONATI is charged with shipping a package containing two skimmers to Manhattan. 
Defendant
Age
Place of Residence
Nationality
FLORIAN CLAUDIU MARTIN,
a/k/a “Florin Claudiu,”
a/k/a “Johnny Ion,”
a/k/a “Jane Hotul,”
a/k/a “Petru Andrioaie,”
a/k/a “Petru Andrioane,”
44
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Romania
ALEX DONATI
51
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Romania
RAUL IONUT VIDRASAN,
a/k/a “Michu,” a/k/a “The Boy”
27
Perugia, Italy
Romania
MIRCEA CONSTANTINESCU, a/k/a “Sobo”
44
Cooper City, Florida
Romania
NIKOLAOS LIMBERATOS, a/k/a “Nicu Limberto”
53
Deer Park, New York
Greece
CRISTIAN COSTEA, a/k/a “Momo”
44
Queens, New York
Romania
ALIN HANES CALUGARU
39
Sunny Isles, Florida
Romania
IONELA CONSTANTINESCU, a/k/a “Pitica”
35
Cooper City, Florida
Romania
THEOFRASTOS LYMBERATOS
36
Queens, New York
United States
ANDREW ELIOPOULOS
34
Queens, New York
United States
VALENTIN PETRESCU, a/k/a “Gico Cosmin Giscan,” a/k/a “Zoltan Pruma”
32
Russellville, Arkansas
Romania
PETER SAMOLIS
30
Queens, New York
United States
KELLY KARKI LAM
42
New York, New York
United States
GEORGE SERBAN
32
Miami, Florida
Romania
DRAGOS DIACONU
41
Nashville, Tennessee
Romania
MADLIN ALEXANDRU ANCA, a/k/a “Mateo Fernandez Alejandro”
22
Nashville, Tennessee
Romania
CRISTIAN ULMANU, a/k/a “Boris Moravec”
54
Russellville, Arkansas
Romania
IULIANA MIHAILESCU
42
Queens, New York
Romania


*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from CyberCrime & Doing Time authored by Gary Warner, UAB. Read the original post at: http://garwarner.blogspot.com/2019/10/18-members-of-atm-skimmer-gang-arrested.html