$5M Credit Card Skimming Scheme Nets Man Seven Years In Jail

Image courtesy of Ludovic Bertron

A high-ranking member of the largest card-skimming operation in the U.S. will spend the next seven years in prison for his part in a scheme that used ATMs at several national banks to steal $5 million from credit card accounts.

A federal judge in New Jersey also ordered Dinu Horvat to pay $7.4 million in restitution to victims affected by the hidden card-reading devices placed at ATMs throughout New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Florida, and elsewhere.

According to the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, Horvat was a high-level member of an extensive ATM skimming scheme that defrauded Citibank, TD Bank, Wells Fargo, and multiple other financial institutions out of at least $5 million and affected thousands of bank customers.

Authorities accused Horvat of designing and constructing sophisticated card-reader devices and pinhole camera panels capable of reading and storing customers’ bank account information and personal identification numbers.

Operators of the scheme then secretly installed the card-reader devices and the pinhole cameras panels onto bank ATMs, and according to the DOJ removed them a few days later after they had recorded customer bank account information.

The stolen data was then used to create thousands of fraudulent ATM cards, allowing the fraudsters to withdraw millions of dollars from customers’ bank accounts.

In all, Horvat was convicted on four counts of a superseding indictment: conspiracy to commit bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, conspiracy to possess 15 or more counterfeit access devices, and conspiracy to possess access device-making equipment.