Digital Version of November/December 2014 Print Edition
Romanian extradited in computer scheme that allegedly stole credit card info at U.S. cash registers
A Romanian man has been extradited to the U.S. to face charges that he had part in a fraud ring that allegedly electronically accessed as many as 80,000 credit cards while they were being used at cash registers across the U.S.
Adrian-Tiberiu Oprea, 28, of Constanta, Romania, was set to appear before a federal judge in New Hampshire on May 29 to face charges of allegedly participating in a scheme to remotely hack into and steal payment card data from hundreds of U.S. merchants’ “point of sale” (POS) computer systems.
An indictment handed down last December alleges Oprea and three other Romanian nationals, Iulian Dolan, Cezar Iulian Butu and Florin Radu, ran the computer fraud conspiracy.
Federal authorities allege that between 2008 until May 2011the men conspired to remotely hack into more than 200 U.S.-based merchants’ POS systems used at customer checkouts in stores across the U.S. to steal customers’ credit, debit and gift card numbers and associated data. POS systems allow merchants to process customer purchases, including credit, debit and gift cards. The systems, said the Department of Justice typically includes a computer, monitor, integrated credit card processing system, signature capture device and a customer pin pad device.
Merchant victims, said the DoJ, include more than 150 Subway restaurant franchises located throughout the U.S., and more than 50 other retailers. According to the indictment, members of the conspiracy compromised the credit card data of more than 80,000 customers, and millions of dollars of unauthorized purchases have been made using the compromised data.
If convicted, according to the Justice Department, each man faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for the computer fraud conspiracy and for each conspiracy to commit access device fraud charge and 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud charge. They also face up to three years of supervised release, a fine of up to twice the amount of the fraud loss, and restitution.
Oprea was arrested on Dec. 1, 2011, in Romania and remained in custody there prior to his extradition, said the department. Dolan and Butu were arrested upon their entry into the U.S. last August and are in the custody, while Radu remains at large, it said.