Two sentenced in ATM skimming scheme

Two Romanian citizens involved in an ATM skimming scheme in Fairfield County were sentenced to 33 months of imprisonment earlier this month by U.S. District Court Judge Janet C. Hall in New Haven.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Marian Caraivan, 43, and Mustafa Timur, 34, conspired with others to install “skimming” devices on ATM machines at three JP Morgan Chase Bank locations in Greenwich and Stamford.

The devices were able to capture the information encoded on the magnetic strips of bank cards used by ATM customers. The co-conspirators 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 co-conspirators then used this stolen information to create counterfeit bank cards that allowed them to withdraw funds from the customers’ accounts.

Through this scheme, the defendants compromised approximately 100 customer accounts, causing losses of more than $75,000. The bank has reimbursed its customers for the losses they sustained.

Mr. Caraivan and Mr. Timur were arrested on Aug. 14, 2011, at a Chase Bank location in Harrison, N.Y., where they also had installed a skimming device. They have been detained since their arrests.

On Aug. 24, 2012, the defendants each pleaded guilty in Bridgeport federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. They also pleaded guilty in New York state court to charges related to the Harrison skimming incident.

Mr. Caraivan and Mr. Timur were ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $75,774.19. Both face deportation proceedings after their release from prison.

The investigation has been conducted by the Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force, which includes members of the United States Secret Service, including the White Plains Office, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the United States Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the IRS – Criminal Investigation, the Connecticut State Police, the Harrison, N.Y. Police Department, Office of the Westchester County District Attorney (High Technology Crimes Bureau); U.S. Customs Inspection Service Fraud Detection and National Security (Hartford Office) and the Greenwich, Hartford, Stamford and Shelton Police Departments. JP Morgan Chase Bank is also assisting in the investigation.

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