Four Brooklyn men have been indicted in a bank-card skimming scheme designed to steal information from ATM users in New York City, Queens and Nassau County, prosecutors said Tuesday.
A Queens County grand jury has handed up a 908-count indictment charging the four with conspiracy, criminal possession of forgery devices and other crimes, after officials said they orchestrated a plan to steal the identities of unsuspecting users of ATMs and other banking institutions, according to a news release from Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
Brown’s office identified the defendants as Ionut Gherasim, 29, Ionut Paraschiu, 31, Zsolt Dezsy, 37, and Robert Duczon, 37, all of Gates Avenue in Brooklyn.
An attorney for Duczon was not immediately available; Dezsy’s lawyer had no immediate comment.
It could not be determined whether Gherasim or Paraschiu had attorneys. They are scheduled to be arraigned on Nov. 9, the release said.
A court-authorized search warrant was executed Aug. 31 at the Gates Avenue apartment where Paraschiu lives. During the search, law enforcement said it seized skimmers, false ATM panels with cameras that would be angled to record customers entering their personal identification numbers and numerous re-encoded cards from numerous financial institutions.
During the raid, a false ATM panel, two skimmers and numerous re-encoded cards were thrown out of the window of apartments where Duczon, Dezsy and Gherasim live, the release said.
An additional search, also on Aug. 31, was executed at the apartments where Duczon, Dezsy and Gherasim live and other skimmer-related items were seized, including plastic cards with a magnetic strip or chip, authorities said. Skimmers, false ATM panels and other items allegedly were recovered, the district attorney said.
According to Brown, Dezsy, Duczon and Gherasim appear on bank surveillance video between July and August. At times, the defendants were seen on video either removing and replacing the top panel of the ATMs and manipulating the machines in a manner not customary with withdrawing cash.
Dezsy was arraigned Oct. 26, when state Supreme Court Justice Michael B. Aloise in Queens set his bail at $500,000. Duczon was arraigned Oct. 18; state Supreme Court Justice James P. Griffin in Queens set his bail at $500,000.
Both are scheduled to return to court on Jan. 24, prosecutors said.
The four are variously charged in the 908-count indictment with criminal possession of forgery devices, second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, second-degree unlawful possession of personal identification information and fifth-degree conspiracy.
If convicted, the defendants each face up to 7 years in prison.
Authorities said anyone who believes they may have been a victim of skimming should contact credit reporting bureaus, police and the Federal Trade Commission.
With Joan Gralla