Los Angeles/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on December 05, 2023
FBI & Romania Snap Up 48 in Thanksgiving Day Takedown of ATM Skimming MobSource: FBI

On Thanksgiving Day, an extensive operation mobilized in Romania, with local law enforcement acting in concert with the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office. The dragnet encompassed 84 locations and resulted in the arrest of 48 people linked to an organized crime group notorious for ATM skimming and money laundering. As reported by the FBI, the investigation that led to these arrests has been a three-year joint effort between US and Romanian authorities, aiming to dismantle a complex financial fraud operation spanning continents.

The targets were largely affiliated with or working for the Riviera Maya Gang, an outfit primarily based in Cancun, Mexico, and very much associated with the crime lord Florian Tudor. Tudor himself is entangled in legal challenges, facing fraud charges in Mexico and attempted murder accusations in his native Romania. U.S. agencies have identified this group as a major player in the credit card skimming scene, victimizing countless individuals across the United States. According to a post from the FBI Los Angeles office, the recent success in Romania also unveiled local evidence, including photos, linked to the indictments returned in Los Angeles.

Officials have stated that during the bust, law enforcement confiscated about $1 million in various currencies and put 11 vehicles into custody. A significant portion of the evidence gathered includes over 8,000 stolen credit card numbers that are directly traced back to U.S. residents. The seizure also included nearly $1 million in cash and cryptocurrency, showcasing the monetary might and sophistication of these criminal enterprises.

The arrests and seizures represent a formidable blow to international crime syndicates that exploit cross-border loopholes and make banking systems vulnerable to fraud. Individuals apprehended in this sting have been charged with a spectrum of crimes in the Central District of California, spanning from conspiracy and bank fraud to aggravated identity theft and visa fraud. These efforts underscore a continued commitment by the FBI and its international partners to pursuing and prosecuting individuals involved in high-tech financial crimes. More details on the outcome of this Thanksgiving Day operation can be found on the FBI's official web page, offering a closer look at the intricate web woven by this criminal alliance and the collaborative efforts to unravel it.