Man Placed Skimmers on ATMs and Used the Stolen Info to Steal Cash from Victims’ Accounts
Erie, PA (STL.News) An individual believed to have entered the United States illegally in March 2018 pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of access device fraud and aggravated identity theft, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.
Janos Vaczi, 50, pleaded guilty to four counts before United States District Judge Susan Paradise Baxter.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that from March 2018 to June 22, 2019, Vaczi and his co-conspirators installed ATM skimming equipment on numerous ATM machines throughout Northwest Pennsylvania. The skimming equipment unlawfully captured the bank account and personal identity information of numerous individuals. Vaczi and his cohorts then placed the unlawfully captured information on to other cards which they then used at various ATM machines to unlawfully obtain thousands of dollars in victim funds.
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 which enabled Vaczi and his co-conspirators to use the cards at various ATM machines to steal funds from the victims’ bank accounts. Vaczi’s 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.
Shortly before the FBI apprehended Vaczi, 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 shortly thereafter.
Judge Baxter scheduled sentencing for August 25, 2021. The law provides for a total sentence of 11 years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Assistant United States Attorney Christian A. Trabold is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Vaczi.