Federal Authorities Bust Widespread ATM Skimming Operation in Southern California

Authorities announced on Tuesday that six foreign nationals living in Southern California have been charged by federal authorities for their alleged involvement in a widespread conspiracy. The individuals are accused of installing “skimming” devices on ATMs and checkout units at retail stores across multiple states.

Fraudsters can use skimming devices to secretly collect account information and PIN numbers from customers when they make purchases using their credit, debit, or EBT cards. This was mentioned in a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s District of Rhode Island Office.

“The data collected from the skimming devices is later utilized to produce fake cards, enabling the perpetrators to unlawfully withdraw money from victims’ bank accounts or make unauthorized purchases.”

Officials report that a group of individuals, including citizens from Romania, Great Britain, and Ireland, who have been residing in Orange County, are accused of withdrawing a significant amount of money from the bank accounts of unsuspecting victims. Additionally, they have made numerous retail purchases, although the exact number is still unknown.

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In October 2023, authorities in Bristol, Rhode Island launched an investigation into the origin of skimming devices found on ATMs at a nearby bank branch, according to a statement.

In a recent development, federal agents from Homeland Security Investigations have successfully recovered skimming devices from 22 different locations of a well-known retailer. These locations were spread across Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, and New York.

Armando Ion Codreanu, a 23-year-old Irish citizen residing in Placentia, is currently facing charges of conspiracy to commit access device fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft as reported by KTLA.

A sixth individual, Ionut Zamfir, 37, a Romanian citizen residing in Los Angeles, has been issued an arrest warrant. The individual is being charged with conspiracy to commit access device fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft.

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