- Mihail Draghici,
- Ionel Dedulescu,
- Didi Theodor Ciulei, A/K/A "Spirel," and
- Laurentiu Mugurel Manta, A/K/A "Mugur."
All four Defendants are charged with:
- conspiracy to commit bank fraud,
- conspiracy to commit access device fraud, and
- aggravated identity theft.
Additionally, Draghici and Dedulescu are charged with bank fraud.
Draghici, Dedulescu, and Manta are citizens of Romania, and Ciulei is a citizen of Austria.
Draghici And Dedulescu were arrested on December 2, 2010, at Miami International Airport while attempting to board an international flight, and are currently detained in New York awaiting trial. Ciulei And Manta were arrested and detained on May 29, 2011, in Chicago, Illinois, and are being transferred to New York by the U.S. Marshals.
If convicted of these charges, each Defendant faces a maximum sentence of 69 and one-half years in prison, and Ciulei and Manta each face a maximum sentence of 62 years in prison
NOTE: The charges and allegations contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
Federal prosecutors allege that from March 2010 to May 2011, the Defendants participated in a scheme to steal customer bank account information using sophisticated "skimming" technology that secretly recorded the account data of customers who used bank ATM machines and teller PIN Pads. The defendants allegedly targeted branches of Citibank and JPMorgan Chase located in the New York City area, Miami, Chicago, and elsewhere, and then used the information they stole through the skimmers to withdraw at least $1.5 million from the bank accounts.
Tricks of the Trade
Skimming is an illegal activity that involves the installation of a device that secretly records the customer's bank account data when he or she uses an Automated Teller Machine ("ATM") or bank teller Personal Identification Number ("PIN") Pad.
Teller PIN Pads are the electronic machines on counters at bank teller stations that enable customers to swipe their bank cards and enter their PIN prior to engaging in a transaction with the teller.
The defendants allegedly used a few different types of skimming technology to steal bank customers' account information:
The Replacement PIN Pad Method. The bank's teller PIN Pads were replaced with identical-looking PIN Pads equipped with technology that recorded the customer's account-related information and corresponding PIN. The compromised PIN Pads were also equipped with technology that enabled the stolen account information to be accessed remotely.
The Overlay Method. Electronic skimming devices were placed on the card readers located at the entrance to ATM vestibules; and ATM PIN Pad Overlays (the "Overlays") were placed atop the bank ATM's PIN Pad. The Overlays looked identical to the ATM PIN Pad beneath and recorded PIN numbers as they were entered into the ATM.
Bill Singer's Comment: I dunno about you but this story really scares me. I mean, you know, I sorta figured that this kind of stuff was largely confined to those cheesy ATM machines that are outside some local deli. And, yeah, okay, so I still hunch over when I use any ATM machine, I regularly look into the little mirror that shows what's going on behind me, and I try to block from view the movement of my fingers on the keypad; but, geez, we're talking about Citibank and JPMorgan here. All the hunching over and fast finger movements ain't gonna do squat when it comes to this type of sophisticated electronic crime. As if we all don't have enough to worry about these days.