Romanian man sentenced to prison for Las Vegas ATM skimming, DETR fraud

Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 8:42 AM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - A Romanian man was sentenced to prison Wednesday for ATM skimming fraud and DETR fraud in Las Vegas.

According to the Department of Justice, the 21-year-old man, identified as Marian Poenaru, had entered the United States illegally.

Authorities said in a news release that Poenaru possessed more than 500 re-encoded vards containing stolen bank account information.

According to court documents, the release states that 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 gift cards with the stolen bank information so they could make cash withdraws and purchases for their own personal benefit, the DOJ said.

Poenaru was arrested by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department on April 25, 2021, according to the DOJ. During a search of his apartment, authorities say more than 500 cards were located that had been re-encoded. The release notes that at least 300 of the counterfeit cards recovered were re-encoded with account information of debit cards issued by the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR), which were used to disburse unemployment insurance benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Authorities also located a lab that was used both to create ATM skimming equipment as well as to manufacture counterfeit cards. The Justice Department says that Poenaru admitted that the fraudulent activities in Las Vegas were committed after the group relocated their scheme from another state to evade law enforcement; “evidence shows that from 2017 to 2021, Poenaru engaged in ATM skimming fraud across the country, including in Maryland, Virginia, Indiana, Michigan, and Nevada.”

The release states that Poenaru pleaded guilty in April 2022 to one count of conspiracy to possess counterfeit and unauthorized access devices and one count of aggravated identity theft.

According to the DOJ, Poenaru was sentenced this week to 42 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. He also is subject to deportation after the completion of his criminal sentence.