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REPORT: Romanian man sentenced to 3 years for ATM skimming fraud scheme

Posted at 2:03 PM, Jul 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-20 17:03:19-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A Romanian citizen was sentenced today to 42 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for running an ATM skimming fraud scheme.

21-year-old Marian Poenaru pleaded guilty in April to one count of conspiracy to possess counterfeit and unauthorized access devices, as well as one count of aggravated identity theft.

According to court documents, Poenaru and his co-conspirators installed and used skimmer devices and pinhole cameras at ATMs to capture users’ account information and PINs. The conspirators then re-encoded the gift cards with stolen bank information so they could make cash withdrawals and personal purchases.

Poenaru was arrested by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department on April 25, 2021.

A search of his apartment uncovered more than 500 cards that were re-encoded. At least 300 of the counterfeit cards were re-encoded with account information of debit cards issued by the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation that were used to distribute unemployment insurance benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Police also found a lab used both to create ATM skimming equipment and manufacture counterfeit cards. Additionally, Poenaru admitted that his fraudulent activities in Las Vegas were committed after he and his co-conspirators relocated their fraudulent scheme from another state to evade law enforcement. Evidence shows that Poenaru engaged in ATM skimming across the country, including in Maryland, Virginia, Indiana, Michigan and Nevada from 2017 to 2021.

Poenaru is subject to deportation after the completion of his criminal sentence, as he reportedly entered the country illegally.