Sabrina Matache, 22, of Middle Village, N.Y., was sentenced in U.S. federal court in Hartford Thursday to a year and a day in prison followed by three years of supervised release for her involvement in an ATM-skimming scheme that struck Fairfield County banks, including the People's United Bank branch on East Putnam Avenue in Cos Cob, in 2010.
In addition Matache was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $60,664, according to a statement from David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut.
One of Matache’s in the scheme, Ion Constantine, . He must pay a $10,000 fine and $60,664 in restitution. Laura Stiuca, and , have pleaded guilty and await sentencing, according to the statement.
Authorities said Matache, Constantine, Stiuca and Pasici conspired to install skimming devices on ATM machines and on bank card swipe-access devices at various People's United Bank locations in Connecticut. The devices captured information encoded on the magnetic strips on the backs of ATM cards used by customers.
The conspirators also affixed hidden pinhole cameras on ATMs that recorded personal identification numbers. The conspirators then used the stolen information to create counterfeit bank cards that allowed them to draw funds from customer accounts, according to Fein’s statement.
The Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force, which includes members of the United States Secret Service, played a pivotal role in investigating the case. The United States Postal Inspection Service; the United States Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security; the Connecticut State Police; and the Glastonbury, Greenwich, Hartford, New Haven and Shelton police departments also played roles, according to the statement.
Such skimming schemes have apparently become more prevalent in recent years: In a separate case, Fein’s office also announced this week that Gabriella Graham, 21, of New London, pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. federal court in New Haven to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud stemming from her participation in an ATM-skimming scheme across southern New England. Authorities said more than 250 bank accounts were victimized and financial institutions suffered over $336,000 in losses in the scam, which involved at least two additional co-conspirators.
This past February Fein’s office announced that Dragos Osanu, also known as “Lucian Dragos Osanu,” “The Boss,” “Antonio Venturini,” “Rosca Alexandru Osanu,” “Vasile Andrei” and “Osanu Aragos Lucian,” 30, , followed by three years of supervised release, for his leadership in another multistate ATM “skimming” scheme that caused more than $200,000 in losses to victim financial institutions. That case, which included additional co-conspirators, also involved the Greenwich Police Department.