Description: Newark, NJ - Member Of ATM Skimming Conspiracy Targeting Multiple New Jersey Bank Locations Pleads Guilty
A member of a scheme that used secret card-reading devices and pinhole cameras on PNC and Bank of America ATMs to steal at least $428,581 pleaded guilty in Newark federal court.
Joel Abel Garcia, 35, a U.S. citizen from Bronx, New York, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
Garcia is the third of 13 defendants charged in this matter to plead guilty. Victor A. Hanganu, 35, a Romanian citizen residing in Bayside, New York, pleaded guilty on April 10, 2017 to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Garcia, Hanganu, and others sought to defraud financial institutions and their customers by illegally obtaining customer account information, including account numbers and personal identification numbers. Garcia and Hanganu both admitted that between March 2015 and July 2016, they used counterfeit ATM cards and stolen customer information to withdraw cash from compromised bank accounts at ATMs in New Jersey. Hanganu also admitted that as part of the scheme, he installed “skimming” devices on the ATMs, including pinhole cameras that recorded password entries and card-reading devices capable of recording customer information encoded on magnetic strips.
Garcia, Hanganu, and others used more than 10 ATM cards to conduct fraudulent cash withdrawals in New Jersey, causing losses of $428,581, $132,805 of which was personally attributable to Garcia.
The conspiracy to commit bank fraud charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Sentencing for Garcia and Hanganu is set for Aug. 2, 2017 and July 31, 2017, respectively.
In addition to Garcia and Hunganu, Radu Marin, 36, a Romanian citizen residing in Glendale, New York, pleaded guilty on March 29, 2017, to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation’s Newark, New Jersey, Division; U.S. Secret Service’s Boston Field Office; Longmeadow, Massachusetts, Police Department; Cambridge, Massachusetts, Police Department; and Medford, Massachusetts, Police Department investigated the case with assistance from Bank of America Security and Fraud Section and PNC Bank Security Division. The Middlesex County, Massachusetts, District Attorney’s Office; U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of New York and U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Massachusetts Springfield Division assisted in the investigation and prosecution.