Valer Zaharia pleads guilty in bank card 'skimmer' case, DA says

Valer Zaharia, right, pleaded guilty to third-degree grand

Valer Zaharia, right, pleaded guilty to third-degree grand larceny and fourth-degree conspiracy on Thursday, April 3, 2014, prosecutors said. His wife Teodora Zaharia, left, previously pleaded guilty after they were caught last year retrieving bank card "skimmer" devices at the Sea Cliff train station, according to authorities. (Credit: Nassau District Attorney)

A man who along with his wife was caught last year retrieving bank card skimming devices at the Sea Cliff train station pleaded guilty Thursday to third-degree grand larceny and fourth-degree conspiracy, prosecutors said.

Valer Zaharia, 38, of Kew Gardens, is expected to be sentenced May 12 to 2 to 6 years in prison, the Nassau County district attorney's office said.

His wife, Teodora Zaharia, 28, of Kew Gardens, pleaded guilty March 21 to fourth-degree grand larceny, prosecutors said.


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Teodora Zaharia is expected to be sentenced April 21, when prosecutors will ask for 9 months in jail and the forfeiture of $61,251.85 in cash found at her Queens apartment, authorities said.

The Zaharias were spotted retrieving two skimming devices and two hidden cameras from the ticket vending machines at the Long Island Rail Road station on Oct. 28, authorities said. They were arrested, unaware that MTA police had been monitoring the station for more than 72 hours, and accused of installing the devices at several train stations, authorities said.

The couple were part of a ring that stole debit and credit card account and PIN numbers, information used to steal tens of thousands of dollars from riders' and financial institutions, prosecutors said.

Two others in the case pleaded guilty last month to felony criminal possession of forgery device. They are to be sentenced April 25.

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