A Romanian man was sentenced to federal prison for ATM fraud and identity theft against Georgians.
Gogut Serban, 35, of Romania, was sentenced to two years, two months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $84,760.50. Serban was convicted of access device fraud and aggravated identity theft on August 28, 2018, after he pleaded guilty.
Serban was sentenced to federal prison for access device fraud and aggravated identity theft for stealing bank debit card numbers and personal identification numbers (PINs) of individuals in Georgia by using automated teller machines (ATMs) skimming devices.
“Identity theft is a continuing problem that damages the credit of too many unsuspecting Georgians,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “Citizens are encouraged to visually and physically inspect ATMs for any obvious signs of tampering prior to using their debit or credit cards.”
“This investigation and subsequent conviction demonstrates the commitment the Secret Service and our law enforcement partners have in aggressively pursuing those who commit access device fraud and identity theft,” said Kimberly A. Cheatle, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service, Atlanta Field Office. “This sentencing is another great example of the law enforcement community working together to combat crime.”
“The Lawrenceville Police Department is extremely grateful for the assistance provided by our partners in the U.S. Secret Service during this seven-month investigation,” said Lawrenceville Police Chief Tim Wallis. “The continued cooperation of local and federal law enforcement agencies led to a successful conclusion of a complex case spread over several jurisdictions.”
According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges and other information presented in court: Serban and his co-conspirators used illegal skimming devices to steal over $80,000 from credit union customers by installing the devices at Associated Credit Union automated teller machines in Atlanta, Lawrenceville, Norcross and other locations in Georgia.
When a customer used an ATM with a skimming device installed, the device electronically recorded the customer’s debit card number and a small camera in the device video recorded the ATM keyboard as the customer entered their PIN. Serban and others then encoded new cards with the stolen account information and used the altered cards at ATMs, draining money from over 70 victims’ bank accounts. The other co-conspirators in the scheme were charged in South Carolina.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service and the Lawrenceville Police Department.