SALT LAKE CITY — A Romanian man has been arrested and extradited back to Utah in connection with a series of ATM skimming cases from 2015, federal authorities say.
Alexandru Cosmin Licsor, 37, had his first court appearance in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City on Friday afternoon, according to a news release from the FBI. He entered a not guilty plea in the case, KSL NewsRadio reported.
Licsor is a Romanian national and allegedly was on the run for two years, according to the release. In 2017, he was charged with possession or use of an access device, three counts of bank fraud and aggravated identity theft, the FBI said.
From January to February 2015, Licsor allegedly conspired with other as yet unidentified people to install skimming equipment on at least four different Zions Bank ATMs in Utah, as well as some banks in New Mexico, according to the release and a federal indictment.
The equipment allegedly was used to record debit and credit card information when customers inserted their cards into the ATMs, the release said.
The skimming devices were equipped with a magnetic card reader and data recorder, according to the indictment. The device recorded the card’s information and a camera recorded the customer’s PIN.
After several days, Licsor or one of his associates allegedly would remove the device and take it to another location. They would then program the data onto gift cards or other cards that had magnetic strips, according to the indictment.
After they programmed the counterfeit cards, they would then take the cards to non-Zions Bank ATM locations and attempt to make cash withdrawals using the video-recorded PINs, the indictment alleges.
Licsor and his associates allegedly withdrew about $190,000 from over 2,000 people using the equipment, according to the release.
“Although Licsor managed to elude authorities for a while, this case demonstrates the FBI’s unwavering pursuit for justice,” Paul Haertel, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Salt Lake City Field Office, said in the release. “Without the existence of strong partnerships among law enforcement agencies at home and abroad, Licsor’s arrest and extradition would not have been possible, and he will now face a judge for his alleged crimes.”
Romanian authorities arrested Licsor on an extradition request when they learned he was in that country, according to the release. He was returned to the U.S. on Thursday.
The FBI Cyber Task Force, which includes Utah Department of Public Safety officials, worked the case, according to the release. The U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs helped extradite Licsor from Romania to the U.S., the release states.