LANSING, Mich. — Ioan Georgel Cristian Flore, a Romanian national, plead guilty to conspiracy to commit financial institution fraud and aggravated identity theft in November 2020 admitting he engaged in a conspiracy to defraud financial institutions by stealing money from federally insured financial institution customer accounts in Michigan and elsewhere according to U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge.
Cameras and other devices were used to record debit and credit cards that were used to withdrawal cash and make other transactions. The conspirators installed the devices on to teller machines and then retrieved them after they recorded account data of bank and credit union customers.
Not only was Flore skimming ATM machines he was also illegally present in the United States, overstaying his vias authorities report.
At the sentencing hearing in Lansing, Michigan, United States District Judge Hala Y. Jarbou also imposed two years of supervised release following imprisonment and a restitution order of $587,529.50. Additionally, Flore was ordered to forfeit $16,230 in U.S. currency that was seized from his vehicle during a traffic stop in Indiana when the two were found in possession of tools used to commit ATM skimming. Flore’s co-conspirator, Marius Adrian Mastan, was sentenced by the Court on March 25, 2021, to serve 53 months in prison for his role in the scheme, ordered to repay $587,529.50 to the 17 victims, and forfeit the $16,230 in seized currency according to U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge stated, “This is the third crew of ATM skimmers using the same modus operandi that my office has prosecuted in the last three years. We are relentless in our pursuit of lengthy prison sentences for anyone who steals and uses other people’s debit and credit card numbers and PIN numbers, which harms both the cardholder and the financial institution that ultimately suffers the loss. At the same time, residents who use ATMs and other debit and credit card readers should remain vigilant in detecting evidence of tampering or anything unusual about the machine. If you suspect tampering has occurred, do not use it and report it immediately.”
“Innocent people in this case had their personal information taken and their money stolen by criminals who believed there would be few consequences for their crimes. The lengthy sentences in this case send a message to anyone engaged in this type of theft that the FBI, along with our federal, state, and local partners will find them and hold them accountable,” said Timothy Waters, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan. “We encourage anyone who believes they may have been a victim of identity theft to report it to the FBI or their local law enforcement agency.”
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Kalamazoo and St. Joseph, Michigan; the Michigan State Police; the Hobart Indiana Police Department; and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection authorities report.