Two plead guilty in LIRR ticket vending machines scam

Romanian nationals Dorin Husa, 37, left, and Niculae

Romanian nationals Dorin Husa, 37, left, and Niculae Petre, 45, both of Queens, pleaded guilty Friday, March 14, 2014 in a Mineola court to criminal possession of a forgery device. Photo Credit: Nassau District Attorney

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Two Queens men admitted roles Friday in a scam authorities said targeted LIRR riders by using devices to copy bank card numbers from train ticket machines.

Speaking through a translator, Romanian nationals Niculae Petre, 45, and Dorin Husa, 37, pleaded guilty in a Mineola court to criminal possession of a forgery device.

Nassau County Judge Robert Spergel said he would sentence each defendant to a year behind bars in April. He said they'd also have to forfeit $7,000 authorities seized from their Elmhurst apartment.

Both defendants had faced multiple felonies in connection with the alleged identity theft ring.

Authorities have said ring members used hidden cameras and card skimmers to copy commuters' bank card numbers before some made fake cards to steal money from ATMs.

Prosecutors have said the scam netted tens of thousands of dollars.

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"I think it was a fair plea. I think justice was done," said Jake LaSala, Petre's lawyer.

Husa's attorney declined to comment Friday.

Court records show Petre and Husa still face similar charges in Queens.

The law-enforcement probe kicked off last fall after an LIRR rider saw that a piece of plastic had broken off a ticket machine at the Bayside station and authorities found a camera.

Authorities said they recovered skimming devices at five LIRR stations and at a Metro-North station.

The Nassau district attorney's office said three alleged ring members, including a husband and wife, still face criminal charges.

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