Home Miami Press Releases 2009 Debit Card Skimming Group Arrested and Charged with Fraud and Identity Theft

Debit Card Skimming Group Arrested and Charged with Fraud and Identity Theft

U.S. Attorney’s Office May 01, 2009
  • Southern District of Florida (313) 226-9100

R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Jonathan I. Solomon, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and Michael K. Fithen, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service (USSS), Miami Field Office, announced that defendants Vittorio Tarantino, a/k/a “Feruccio Romagnioli,” 32, of Sunny Isles Beach, Alexandru Dragomir, 28, of Hallandale, Iosif Rauca, 35, of Boca Raton, and Gabriel Mircea Staicu, a/k/a “Gaby,” 41, of Boca Raton, were arraigned in Fort Lauderdale this morning on charges of conspiracy to commit credit card fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1029(b)(2), possession of a credit card “skimmer,” in violation of Title 18 U.S.C.  § 1029(a)(4), possession of fifteen or more stolen debit card account numbers, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. § 1029(a)(3), use of one or more unauthorized access devices, during a one-year period, to obtain something of value of $1,000 or more, in violation of Title 18 U.S.C.  § 1029(a)(2), and aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(a)(1). The defendants were arrested on April 17, 2009, on a previously filed complaint. At the arraignment, the court set a $250,000 corporate surety bond for defendants Tarantino and Staicu. However, neither have posted bond and are currently detained.  Defendants Dragomir and Staicu were ordered detained pending trial.

According to the Indictment, the defendants and their co-conspirators made devices, known as "skimming devices," that captured the information stored on the magnetic stripe of bank debit cards when the debit cards were placed into Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) throughout Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Counties. The skimming devices, and hidden micro-video cameras, were placed on the ATMs to record customers’ Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) as they conducted their transactions. The defendants and their co-conspirators would subsequently remove the skimming devices and micro-video cameras from the ATMs and download and review the stolen information. They would then create false bank debit cards by encoding the magnetic stripes of gift cards and other plastic cards with magnetic stripes containing the customer's stolen banking information. Using these false cards and the customers’ PINs, the defendants would withdraw customers’ funds from ATMs. The defendants would send some of the funds fraudulently obtained to individuals across the United States, Romania, and elsewhere, using Western Union and other money transmitting services.

If convicted, the defendants face a possible sentence of 15 years in prison. 

Mr. Acosta thanked the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service for their joint efforts on this case. Essential assistance was also provided by the Syracuse Field Office of Secret Service and agents working in Rome, Italy; and Romania. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Stone.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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