A 63-year-old man pleaded guilty Friday to an ATM skimming scheme that took a total of $931,000 from banks in several states, including Nevada, the Justice Department announced.
George Dragusin, a Romanian citizen also known as “Georgio Anderini” and “Einstein,” pleaded guilty in federal court in Connecticut to conspiracy and identity theft charges that “defrauded banks from coast to coast,” according to a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office.
He admitted to participating in ATM skimming at banks in Nevada, Connecticut, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and California, the release said.
Law enforcement was made aware of the conspiracy after the People’s United Bank reported 35 instances of ATM skimming at banks in Connecticut. Investigators determined that Dragusin, working with other people, placed skimming devices at ATMs to capture customers’ account numbers and PINs, the release said.
“Members of the conspiracy” then used the information to make fake ATM cards, withdraw money and make purchases with the cards, the release said. It was unclear how many people investigators believed were a part of the scheme.
People’s United Bank lost about $286,069 from the ATM skimming, the release said. Dragusin was arrested in September in Hayward, California.
From March 2018 to September, he admitted Friday, he also participated in ATM skimming activity in Nevada, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and California.
The skimming activity in other states caused banks to lose more than $645,000, the attorney’s office said.
Dragusin plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, which has a maximum term of 30 years imprisonment, as well as one count of aggravated identity theft, which has a mandatory consecutive prison sentence of two years, the release said.
He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 15.
The Secret Service in Las Vegas and the Metropolitan Police Department assisted in the investigation, the attorney’s office said.