Wagswoofs – According to an Assistant DA, an organized ring of Romanian individuals is carrying out fraudulent withdrawals from bank accounts in the United States. These criminals are using discreetly installed card readers at ATMs to carry out their illegal activities.
The People of New York State have filed a case against Torsten Torz, a Romanian national who is accused of illegally withdrawing $90,000 from Bank of America customer accounts in Garden City, Long Island, over a span of three months.
Garden City Police arrested Torz on Tuesday at the bank while he was allegedly getting ready to make another withdrawal from someone else’s bank account.
Garden City Police caught him red-handed with the counterfeit ATM device. He has been operating ATMs since August 30, according to the authorities.
According to reports, it is believed that he had assistance in carrying out the task.
Investigators claim that Torz was involved in the criminal activities alongside another Romanian individual who was apprehended three days before. This individual, known as Ionut Daniel Bilea, had a prior criminal record and was convicted in 2022 for federal offenses committed at Bank of America ATMs in Irvine, California. Surprisingly, Bilea had gained notoriety as an international ATM bank robber after being convicted in 2016 for skimming ATMs at banks in New Zealand.
Torz and Bilea collaborated in New York to install illicit card skimmers at the Bank of America ATM on 7th Street in Garden City, according to the police. Following the installation, they promptly initiated the process of depleting bank accounts. Law enforcement officials assert that the duo repeatedly targeted this location, covertly capturing PIN passwords and debit card numbers from a minimum of 14 unsuspecting customers.
Authorities took an unusually long time to put a stop to the perpetrators, leaving customers unaware that they had fallen victim to the scam.
On December 16, Garden City Police took Bilea into custody for his involvement in ATM bank frauds. Due to his limited income, the judge granted him a bail bond of $10,000 and assigned a public defender to his case. Currently, he remains incarcerated at the Nassau Correctional Center as inmate #2023120056 in Block D. Surprisingly, none of his Romanian acquaintances have come forward to post bail for him thus far.
But Torz remained at large. According to the Garden City Police, despite already getting away with $90,000, Torz made a return to the bank on December 19.
They were waiting for him this time.
Torz appeared in court the following morning on Wednesday, December 20, 2023, at the First District Court in Hempstead. He faced C and D Felony charges for crimes that were reportedly committed on August 30, November 2, November 9, and December 19. Judge Madeleine Petrara-Perrin granted Torz release with an electronic monitor and ordered him to surrender his passport.
Torz has a court date scheduled for January 4, 2024, at the Mineola Criminal Court Felony Screening. Currently, he is required to wear an electronic monitor. Meanwhile, his Romanian ex-con friend, Bilea, remains incarcerated. However, there are more details to uncover.
ATMs across the United States continue to pose a security risk.