BOSTON – One Romanian national was sentenced and two Romanian nationals pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Boston in connection with an ATM skimming scheme operating throughout Massachusetts and other states including Connecticut, New York and South Carolina.
Florinel Vaduva, 22, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young to three years in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution of $50,453.12. In October 2018, Vaduva pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, conspiracy to use counterfeit access devices, and aggravated identity theft.
In a separate hearing, Ion Vaduva, 38, and Florin Hornea, 37, each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity and conspiracy to use counterfeit access devices. Hornea also pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft. Judge Young scheduled their sentencing hearings for May 7, 2019. In May 2017, Florinel Vaduva, Ion Vaduva and Florin Hornea and 11 others were indicted in connection with the ATM skimming scheme. A superseding indictment later added another defendant.
The defendants, except for one, were members of the Hornea Crew, led by Constantin Denis Hornea and Ludemis Hornea, and engaged in ATM skimming – obtaining debit card numbers and PINs from unsuspecting bank customers, creating counterfeit cards, and making unauthorized withdrawals from the victims’ bank accounts.
Over an 18 month period, the Crew installed skimming devices and made unauthorized withdrawals in seven states, including Massachusetts. In particular, members of the Crew installed skimming devices in the following locations: Amherst, Bellingham, Billerica, Braintree, Chicopee, Quincy, Southwick, Waltham, Weymouth, and Whately, Mass.; Enfield, Conn.; Columbia, Greenville, Greenwood, Mauldin, and Saluda, S.C.; Savannah, Ga.; and Yadkinville, N.C. The Crew made unauthorized withdrawals at ATMs in approximately 29 Massachusetts towns; seven Connecticut towns; six New York towns; Salem, N.H.; and Sumter, S.C.
Members of the Hornea Crew transferred money throughout the United States and to Romania and the People’s Republic of China. Some of those transfers were for the purchase of skimming devices and related components from abroad.
In May 2018, Judge Young sentenced Constantin Denis Hornea, 23, to 65 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $242,141 in restitution and a money judgment of $54,260. Ludemis Hornea, 21, was sentenced to 42 months in prison, which includes credit for 15 months served on a state sentence, three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $57,422 in restitution and a money judgment of $11,124. Of the 15 charged defendants, eight have been sentenced, four have pleaded guilty and awaiting are sentencing, one is awaiting trial, and two have not been arrested.
The charge of conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering conspiracy provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and fine of $250,000. The charge of conspiracy to use counterfeit access devices provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and fine of $250,000. The charge of aggravated identity theft provides for a mandatory sentence of two years in prison to be served consecutive to any other sentence imposed, up to one year of supervised release, and a maximum fine of $250,000. The defendants are subject to deportation proceedings. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, made the announcement today. Assistance with the investigation was also provided by the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston; U.S. Secret Service; U.S. Postal Service; Massachusetts Department of Correction; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; the Amherst, Billerica, Braintree, Boston, Quincy, Southwick, Waltham, Whately, and Westwood Police Departments; Connecticut State Police; Greenwich Police Department; the New York City Police Department; Houston Police Department; South Carolina Law Enforcement Division; Richland County (South Carolina) Sheriff’s Department; Florence and Saluda (South Carolina) Police Departments; and the Solicitor’s Offices of Greenville and Saluda Counties. Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy E. Moran of Lelling’s Organized Crime and Gang Unit is prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging document are allegations. The remaining defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in the court of law.