Queens woman gets 9-month jail term for LIRR ticket skimming

Four arrests have been made in connection with a scam that used hidden cameras and bank card skimmers to target MTA Long Island Rail Road customers using ticket vending machines on Long Island and in Queens. Videojournalist: Chuck Fadely (Nov. 1, 2013)

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A Queens woman who admitted to participating in a "skimming" scam using Long Island Rail Road ticket vending machines was sentenced Friday to nine months in jail, prosecutors said.

Teodora Zaharia, 28, of Kew Gardens, pleaded guilty in March to fourth-degree grand larceny and agreed to forfeit the more than $60,000 in cash found at her apartment.

She was sentenced by Nassau County Court Judge Robert Spergel.

Zaharia, along with her husband Valer Zaharia, 38, were arrested last October after Metropolitan Transportation Authority police caught them retrieving skimmer devices and hidden cameras from ticket vending machines at the Sea Cliff LIRR station.

Prosecutors said the thieves could use the information to empty victims' bank accounts.

Valer Zaharia pleaded guilty earlier this month to third-degree grand larceny and fourth-degree conspiracy and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 12.

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Two other defendants involved in the scheme -- Dorin Husa, 37, and Niculae Petre, 45, both of Elmhurst, both pleaded guilty in March to possession of forgery devices and are awaiting sentencing.

Police are also looking for Cezar Nastasa, who is charged with being part of the scam and who officials said fled to Great Britain on Oct. 31, soon after the other suspects were arrested. A warrant was issued for his arrest.

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