The Department of Justice’s United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced the arrest of 18 people who the DOJ alleges participated in an international conspiracy to commit a variety of offenses, including access device fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft involving a Nashville man.
Alexandru Anca Madlin, who is also known as Mateo Fernandez Alejandro, is a Romanian national living in Nashville was charged in the Oct. 10 indictment after he was arrested by the Nolensville Police Department earlier this year.
According to NPD Chief Roddy Parker, Madlin was a person of interest when he was arrested on June 23 after a traffic stop. Parker said that Madlin was involved in using duplicate cards in Nolensville and surrounding areas where he would allegedly pull money out of the accounts of victims who had been compromised by the criminal organization.
Parker singled out NPD Detective Tim Pickel and Officer Cody Phillips in a Facebook post, adding in a phone call that they were instrumental in the arrest that has aided in the prosecution of the multi-state crimes.
“Certainly participating in an arrest that has this far-reaching implications is new for us or at least new for me in the two years that I’ve been here,” Parker said in a phone call, adding that the best thing that businesses and residents can do to help prevent becoming a victim of these crimes is to be aware of card readers that they are using and notify the business or police if something doesn’t seem right.
According to a DOJ news release, each defendant is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 7 and a half years in prison; one count of conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison; and one count of aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory sentence of two years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence imposed.
The news release also details that certain, although unspecified, defendants allegedly directed, or worked in, teams that the “Skimming Organization” deployed across the United States including casing target locations, installing skimming devices on ATMs, removing those devices and cashing out large numbers of fraudulent debit cards manufactured as a result of the skimming operations.
Other defendants are alleged to have assisted in receiving packages containing skimming devices or component parts that were shipped from other parts of the U.S. and from abroad, while other defendants assisted in engineering the skimming devices that the “Skimming Organization” used in the wide-spread operation.
Finally, other defendants are alleged to have laundered the proceeds of the skimming attacks through bank accounts, properties, businesses and the transportation of bulk cash across New York and at least 17 other states defrauding financial institutions and individual victims of more than $20 million.
“As alleged, the defendants participated in a wide-ranging international ATM skimming and money laundering operation, using their technological know-how to steal tens of millions of dollars from financial institutions and individual victims. Thanks to the FBI, CBP, and the NYPD, the defendants are in custody and facing felony charges for their alleged offenses,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in the news release.
It is not clear when the cases will go to trial but it is clear that towns like Nolensville are as susceptible to electronic fraud as larger cities across the country and internationally.