Man sentenced to 3.5 years in prison, ordered to pay more than $106K for 2018-2019 ATM skimming thefts

Western PA News

WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com — A man has been sentenced to prison for ATM skimming thefts dating back to 2018 and 2019.

According to the Department of Justice Western District of Pennsylvania, Janos Vaczi, 51, a Romanian National, has been sentenced to 3.5 years in prison and is ordered to pay $106,341.07 in restitution for access device fraud and aggravated identity theft.

According to information presented to the court, from March 2018 to June 22, 2019, Vaczi and his co-conspirators installed ATM skimming equipment on numerous ATM machines throughout Northwest Pennsylvania. 

With the skimming equipment, Vaczi and others were able to obtain the bank account and personal identity information of numerous victims.

Vaczi and his co-conspirators then put the information onto other cards, allowing them to take out thousands of dollars from victims.

According to the news release from the DOJ, during the investigation the FBI searched a storage locker that Vaczi had rented in the Pittsburgh area. Inside the storage locker the FBI discovered hundreds of cards that contained stolen bank account information.

The storage locker also contained $10,000, ATM skimming equipment and numerous fake passports and international driver’s licenses bearing Vaczi’s picture but with different names.

Just before the FBI apprehended Vaczi, the DOJ reports he attempted to bury hundreds of cards containing stolen identity information near a grocery store in the Pittsburgh area. Agents noticed that the ground had been disturbed in the area where Vaczi had been standing and discovered the cards not too long after.

Police released images of possible suspects in April 2019. In June 2019, Vaczi was arrested by the FBI.

Vaczi was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in Erie in July 2019. He is believed to have entered the United States illegally in March 2018.

Assistant United States Attorney Christian A. Trabold prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

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