Bogdan Rusu, 39, of Queens, N.Y., was sentenced to five years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for participating in a scheme that used secret card-reading devices called skimmers on various ATM locations to steal an estimated $390,000.
The relatively harsh sentence follows a growing trend of federal and local prosecutors aggressively seeking longer prison terms for those convicted of participating in ATM-related crimes.
According to court documents and statements made in court, from August 2014 to November 2016, Rusu and others engaged in a widespread conspiracy that targeted various ATMs in Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey. According to prosecutors, the crew captured payment card account information from customers as they accessed their accounts through ATMs and then used that information to steal money from the customers’ bank accounts.
As part of the scheme, the crew installed devices on ATMs to illegally obtain customer account information, including account numbers and personal identification numbers (PINs). They would then transfer the information to counterfeit payment cards and use those to withdraw money from the accounts. To date, 11 other defendants charged in this scheme have pled guilty.