A collaborative operation of Europol, Italian forces and Romanian police has resulted in the successful arrests of 7 men in Italy and Romania. In addition to this, there were also 14 suspects that were detained in the arrests. The forces gained authorization to breach 14 houses and search them for evidence.
In addition to this, the Romanian DIICOT (branch on investigating organized crime and terrorism) has checked multiple locations in several regions in Romania and as a result, the skimming group’s leader was also busted.
The authorities feel convinced that the organized group was approximately thirty individuals in size. The leader of the group is believed to be Nazare Mihai under the nickname “Mosu”.
The authorities claim that “Mosu” Mihai was also involved in other criminal activities such as leading a prostitution ring, sending Romanian women to Italy and Switzerland as well.
In addition to this, the investigators have acquired different tools that were incriminating evidence against the organization:
- Card readers.
- Skimming magnetic strip device.
- Writer device.
- Modified computers.
- Multiple burner phones.
- Removable drives.
- Empty plastic cards that were most likely used to input the stolen data into and conduct financial theft.
For those who are uninformed as to what a skimming device looks, like, it most likely aims to resemble the original card slot of an ATM. However, the device has a skimmer that collects key information that can be used to clone the credit/debit card to another plastic card that is empty. Here is a good example of a skimmer:
The organization has been reported to have over three years of “field experience,” being first active in the year 2013. In addition to this, the DIICOT branch also claims that this very group used the stolen data to make fake cards, and the members of the group were then sent to purchase extremely expensive items, such as clothes, shoes and other accessories in Italian stores, paying with those very cards. The primary place where this took place were large Italian cities, mainly Milan and Monza.
The consequences for the suspects weren’t light. The group was convicted on several indictments – forging electronic payment tools, possessing equipment modified for forgery, granting illegal access to a computer, prostitution as well as money laundering operations.