Greenwich Police are part of an investigation that on Friday resulted in a guilty plea in Hartford Federal Court from a citizen of Romania.
George Dragusin, also known as “Georgio Anderini” and “Einstein,” 63, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and identity theft charges related to extensive ATM skimming activity that defrauded banks from coast to coast.
According to court documents and statements in court, between February and June 2017, People’s United Bank locations in Connecticut experienced approximately 35 incidents of ATM skimming at their branches.
A joint law enforcement investigation revealed that Dragusin and others placed skimming devices at the ATMs to capture account numbers and PIN numbers from customers who used their ATM cards at the ATMs while the devices were in place.
Members of the conspiracy used the captured information to make substitute ATM cards, and then obtained money and made purchases using those cards.
People’s United Bank suffered losses of approximately $286,069 as a result of this scheme.
In pleading guilty, Dragusin admitted that he installed and removed ATM skimming equipment at several People’s United Bank locations, and used re-encoded cards and PINs to obtain money from several bank locations.
He also admitted that, between March and September 2018, he participated in ATM skimming activity in Nevada, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and California, causing multiple banks to suffer total losses of more than $645,000.
Dragusin was arrested in Hayward, California, in September 2018. He has been detained since his arrest.
Dragusin pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years, and one count of aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory consecutive prison term of imprisonment of two years. He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea on November 15, 2019.
In addition to the Greenwich Police Dept, the investigation is being conducted by the Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force, the US Secret Service in New Haven and Las Vegas, the Monroe Police Dept, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the New York Police Dept, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Dept, the Dixon (CA) Police Dept, and the Hayward (CA) Police Dept.