A 26-year-old Romanian man has been extradited from Germany to Massachusetts, nearly four years after he was indicted on charges connected to an ATM skimming operation across several states that stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from unsuspecting victims, officials said Friday.
Dragush Nelo Hornea was indicted in May 2017 on charges of conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity and conspiracy to use counterfeit access devices, the US attorney’s office for Massachusetts said in a statement.
Hornea appeared in court in Boston on Friday and is being held in federal custody, according to the statement.
He was allegedly part of the “Hornea Crew” of ATM skimmers led by Constantin Denis Hornea and Ludemis Hornea, prosecutors said. The crew stole people’s debit card numbers and PINs, made counterfeit “cloned” cards, and used them to make unauthorized withdrawals from victims’ account, according to the statement.
Dragush Hornea and other members of the crew allegedly operated the scam in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, South Carolina, Georgia, and other states over about a year and a half, prosecutors said. In Massachusetts, they installed skimming devices in Amherst, Bellingham, Billerica, Braintree, Chicopee, Quincy, Southwick, Waltham, Weymouth, and Whately, according to the statement.
Hornea was one of 14 co-defendants charged in the May 2017 indictment, prosecutors said. All those people have been convicted, and those who have been sentenced received terms ranging from one year to 65 months, according to prosecutors.
For the charge of conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, Hornea faces up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and fine of $250,000. For the charge of conspiracy to use counterfeit access devices, he faces a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and fine of $250,000, according to the statement.