Saturday, December 2, 2023

Suspected Romanian gang leader to be tried for stealing 70mn pesos from ATMs

A Romanian man accused of running a massive bank card skimming operation in Mexico has been ordered to stand trial on charges he stole 70 million pesos (US $3.4 million) from ATMs.

Florian Tudor, who was arrested in Mexico City late last month after an extradition request from Romania for organized crime, extortion and attempted murder, and two other alleged members of the Romanian criminal group were ordered to stand trial for crimes under the Credit Institutions Law as well as criminal association, the federal Attorney General’s Office (FGR) said Tuesday.

The FGR said it presented evidence against the suspects during a marathon 18-hour hearing in a Quintana Roo court. The judge remanded them in preventative custody and granted authorities a period of four months to complete their investigation.

“These people are likely responsible for illegally carrying out … operations at automated teller machines in the states of Quintana Roo, Yucatán, Hidalgo, México state and Mexico City,” the FGR said.

Tudor, known as “The Shark,” is currently being held at the Altiplano federal prison in México state, having been transferred there from a Mexico City prison on June 5.

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said May 28 that he would be extradited to Romania “very quickly” but the alleged mafia leader has a court order that prevents his extradition, the newspaper Milenio reported.

According to authorities, Tudor and criminals he worked with – among whom were allegedly other Romanians, Mexican hackers, Venezuelan cyber crime experts and the Quintana Roo cartel boss Leticia Rodríguez Lara — scammed hundreds if not thousands of people who used Cancún, Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos ATMs in which bluetooth devices, or “skimmers,” had been placed to steal card details.

The criminals then used cloned cards to withdraw cash from their victims’ accounts. In one 24-hour period in March 2017, the group withdrew 150 million pesos (US $7.3 million) from BBVA ATMs in Quintana Roo, Mexico City and México state, according to a report by Milenio based on Mexican and United States intelligence.

However, authorities only have evidence showing that 70 million pesos was stolen from BBVA machines, the newspaper reported today.

A federal security cabinet document obtained by Milenio indicates that the Romanian mafia also stole similarly large amounts from ATMs at Citibanamex, Wells Fargo, Chase, Bank of America and TD Bank. It is unclear where those heists occurred.

With reports from Milenio 

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