NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A Romanian man who was extradited to the United States pleaded guilty today to an ATM skimming fraud scheme targeting Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) that resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses.
According to court documents, in 2014 and 2015, Aurel Eremia, 43, and several other conspirators engaged in widespread effort to install portable card reading devices (skimming devices) and micro camera equipment inside and over the mouth of NFCU ATMs card readers and keypads. Eremia and the conspirators used such devices to record and to acquire, without lawful authorization, the personal identification and financial information of NFCU customers.
Conspirators stored and transferred by electronic means the personal identification and financial information fraudulently obtained. Then, conspirators transferred and used the information to gain unauthorized access to bank and credit accounts belonging to NFCU customers by, among other things, re-encoding account numbers onto the magnetic strips of other cards, including gift cards. The re-encoded cards, in combination with the corresponding PINs, were used to make unauthorized withdrawals and transfers from the compromised NFCU accounts, in the Eastern District of Virginia and elsewhere. The conspiracy resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses and other conspirators have been convicted and sentenced.
Eremia pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. He faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison on the conspiracy charge, and a mandatory consecutive term of 2 years in prison on the aggravated identity theft charge. Eremia is scheduled to be sentenced on March 4, 2021. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Martin Culbreth, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; and Jerald W. Page, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service’s Richmond Field Office, made the announcement after U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert J. Krask accepted the plea.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian Samuels and Kaitlin Cooke are prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:15-cr-63.