FILE - A woman uses an ATM at Citi's new flagship branch at Union Square in New York, December 16, 2010. REUTERS
FILE – A woman uses an ATM at Citi’s new flagship branch at Union Square in New York, December 16, 2010. REUTERS


Newark, NJ – A Romanian native who led a scheme that used card-reading devices to lift bank information from ATMs and steal millions of dollars was sentenced to 10 years in prison Tuesday.

Marius Vintila also must pay about $7.5 million in restitution under the sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge William Martini. Vintila had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identify theft.

Prosecutors say Vintila led a group that used the stolen data to create fake ATM cards and withdraw more than $5 million from customers’ bank accounts.

The 32-year-old Vintila was among 16 people charged in the scheme, many of them Romanian nationals living in New York. Thirteen have pleaded guilty or been convicted.

At the time the group was arrested in the summer of 2013, Vintila fled the country but was arrested in Sweden a few months later and extradited to the U.S.

According to the U.S. attorney’s office in Newark, the scheme targeted thousands of bank customers in states including New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Florida by attaching card-reading devices to ATMs to steal account information from the magnetic strips of ATM cards. The group also used pinhole cameras to record customers typing in personal identification numbers.

Vintila used an alias to rent storage units where the group stored cash, the skimming devices and other materials used in the scheme. He also allegedly provided members of the group with fake passports and aliases.

As reported by Vos Iz Neias