August 17, 2015

Romanian National Admits to International ATM Skimming Scheme

PHILADELPHIA—Zoltan Deak, 39, of Hunedoara, Romania, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey L. Schmehl scheduled a sentencing hearing for December 7, 2015. Deak faces a statutory maximum sentence of 25 years.

Deak was part of an international conspiracy which placed skimming devices on ATM machines and subsequently stole money from the compromised bank accounts. Most of the skimming devices were placed on ATM machines in Europe. The stolen account numbers and passcodes were then transmitted to two other members of the conspiracy, Marius Zegrean and Alexandru Dragan, who lived in Reading, Pennsylvania and who previously pleaded guilty.

Zegrean and Dragan took road trips across the United States stopping every few miles to withdraw funds from the compromised bank accounts. In June 2013, Deak traveled to the United States intending to withdraw funds from the compromised bank accounts and to assist Zegrean place skimming devices on ATM machines in the United States. Deak, Zegrean, and Dragan took a road trip from Reading, PA to Florida to withdraw funds from previously compromised accounts. Returning from their trip to Florida, Sheriff Deputies in Clarendon County, South Carolina, stopped Zegrean’s Range Rover and searched their vehicle. Inside the vehicle, Deputies found approximately $15,000 in stolen funds, 1,704 stolen bank card numbers, and various ATM skimming devices. Wyomissing Police later seized another stolen 2,879 bank card numbers from Zegrean’s computers.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the Clarendon County Sheriff and the Wyomissing Police. Extradition assistance provided by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert J. Livermore.