Home Los Angeles Press Releases 2013 Twelve Charged in ATM Card Skimming Scheme That Caused Thousands of Dollars in Losses to Banks

Twelve Charged in ATM Card Skimming Scheme That Caused Thousands of Dollars in Losses to Banks
Devices Placed on ATMs Captured Card Numbers and Personal Identification Numbers

FBI Los Angeles October 24, 2013
  • Public Affairs Specialist Laura Eimiller (310) 996-3343

LOS ANGELES—Twelve members of an organized criminal group operating in southern California have been charged for their roles in an ATM skimming conspiracy that victimized U.S. banks and customers, causing losses in the hundreds of thousands.

Nine of the 12 defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud in a criminal complaint unsealed yesterday in United States District Court. Three defendants were charged in connection with the conspiracy in a second criminal complaint filed today.

The complaints allege that the defendants obtained or manufactured skimming devices to be placed over ATM card readers in order to obtain information on customers’ debit cards. The complaints further allege that the defendants installed mini video cameras that would capture personal identification numbers (PINs). After obtaining this information, the defendants allegedly replicated the data on blank bank and gift cards. Utilizing the newly coded bank cards and captured PINs, the defendants allegedly made cash withdrawals from ATMs in Los Angeles, Orange County, Las Vegas, and San Francisco.

The criminal complaints charge the following defendants with conspiracy to commit bank fraud:

  • Oliver Raducu Marian, aka Tyrone Steven Constant, a fugitive, age, 33
  • Gheorghita Vlasin, of Los Angeles, age 26
  • Petru Olteanu-Ursachi, of Los Angeles, age 36
  • Bogdan Ciuchi, a fugitive, age 29
  • Codrin Marian Lupu, of Los Angeles
  • Adrian Saran, of Los Angeles, age 36
  • Marius Robert
  • Manciu Claudiu Buculei, a fugitive, age 37
  • Roman Florin Buciumi, of Los Angeles
  • Vasile Gabriel Branisteanu, of Los Angeles
  • Cotovanu Claudiu-Dumitru, of Los Angeles, age 31
  • Calian Marios Dumitru, of Los Angeles

On Tuesday morning, agents and officers with multiple law enforcement agencies executed arrest and search warrants in Los Angeles. Six of the defendants charged in the first complaint were apprehended without incident. Three additional individuals located during the execution of the warrants were also taken into custody and charged in the second criminal complaint. All the defendants are expected to be in federal court this afternoon for initial appearances. The three remaining defendants are fugitives believed to be overseas and are currently being sought by investigators.

Six federal search warrants were executed throughout the day on Wednesday when investigators found hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and credit card skimming equipment.

If convicted of the charge in the complaint, the defendants each would face a statutory maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison.

A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in court.

This case is a continuing joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, and the United States Secret Service.

The defendants will be prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office.

Media Contact:

  • FBI: 310-996-3343
  • United States Attorney’s Office: 213-894-6947