Romanian man pleads guilty to ATM skimming fraud targeting Navy Federal

Newport News

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – The Department of Justice says a man who was extradited to the United States pleaded guilty Wednesday to an ATM skimming fraud scheme that targeted Navy Federal Credit Union.

According to court documents, in 2014 and 2015, 43-year-old Aurel Eremia, and several other conspirators engaged in a widespread effort to install portable card reading devices (skimming devices) and micro camera equipment inside and over the mouth of Navy Federal ATM card readers and keypads.

The DOJ said Eremia and the conspirators used the devices to record and to acquire the personal identification and financial information of NFCU customers without lawful authorization.

Records also revealed that the conspirators stored and transferred the personal identification and financial information. Then, they transferred and used the information to gain unauthorized access to bank and credit accounts belonging to NFCU customers by, among other things, re-encoding account numbers onto the magnetic strips of other cards, including gift cards.

The re-encoded cards, in combination with the corresponding PINs, were used to make unauthorized withdrawals and transfers from the compromised NFCU accounts in the Eastern District of Virginia and elsewhere.

The DOJ says the conspiracy resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses and other conspirators have been convicted and sentenced.

Eremia pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

He faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison on the conspiracy charge and a mandatory consecutive term of 2 years in prison on the aggravated identity theft charge.

Eremia is scheduled to be sentenced on March 4, 2021.

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