Fraud Charges , Skimming Conspiracy

Six Defendants Plead Guilty to Fraud Charges in Multi-Million-Dollar, Nationwide Skimming Conspiracy. One Shoals area credit union was hit in the scheme.

Six defendants indicted for defrauding credit unions across the country have pleaded guilty to bank fraud conspiracy and identity theft charges, announced U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona, FBI Special Agent in Charge Carlton L. Peeples, and United States Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Patrick Davis.

Maria Matei, 22, and Larisa Tordache, 28, each pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Liles C. Burke to conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Florin Matei, 27, pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. Ionut Iamandita, 28, and Milena lamandita 25, pleaded guilty in November to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. Marius fordache, 29, pleaded guilty in November to conspiring to commit bank fraud.

According to the plea agreements, between October 2022 and June 2023,

defendants defrauded credit unions in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Jacksonville, Florida; Philadelphia Pennsylvania; Albany, New York; Florence, Alabama; Dallas, Texas; Birmingham, Alabama; and Saginaw, Michigan.

The defendants placed covert video cameras and skimming devices on the targeted credit unions’ Automatic Teller Machines, and then used the collected information to make fraudulent withdrawals for credit union customers accounts. The fraudulent withdrawals totaled more than $5 million dollars.

The maximum penalty for conspiracy to commit bank fraud is 30 years in prison. Aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory sentence of two years in prison, which must be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed.

The FBI and United States Secret Service investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney John M. Hundscheid is prosecuting the case.

The Lauderdale County’s Sherriff’s Office, Tuscaloosa County Sherriff’s Office, Hoover Police Department, and Vestavia Hills Police Department aided the investigation. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania also provided significant assistance.

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