Guilty Plea in ATM Device Scam

Wednesday, August 19, 2015 @ 01:08 PM gHale

One member of an international conspiracy that worked to place skimming devices on automated teller machines and then stole money from compromised bank accounts pleaded guilty Monday to federal charges.

Zoltan Deak, 39, of Hunedoara, Romania, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

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U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey L. Schmehl scheduled a sentencing hearing for December 7. Deak faces a maximum sentence of 25 years.

Most of the skimming devices ended up placed on ATMs in Europe. The stolen account numbers and passcodes then transmitted to two other members of the conspiracy, Marius Zegrean and Alexandru Dragan, who lived in Reading, PA, and who previously pleaded guilty.

Zegrean and Dragan took road trips across the United States stopping every few miles to withdraw funds from the compromised bank accounts. In June 2013, Deak traveled to the United States intending to withdraw funds from the compromised bank accounts and to assist Zegrean place skimming devices on ATMs in the United States, federal officials said.

Deak, Zegrean, and Dragan took a road trip from Reading, PA to Florida to withdraw funds from previously compromised accounts. Returning from their trip to Florida, Sheriff Deputies in Clarendon County, South Carolina, stopped Zegrean’s Range Rover and searched their vehicle. Inside the vehicle, Deputies found $15,000 in stolen funds, 1,704 stolen bank card numbers, and various ATM skimming devices. Wyomissing Police later seized another stolen 2,879 bank card numbers from Zegrean’s computers.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case with assistance from the Clarendon County Sheriff and the Wyomissing Police.