GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Two men could face federal charges in a large-scale ATM skimming investigation, authorities say.
A federal complaint has been filed against Georgel Cristian Flore and Marius Adrian Mastan. They are being accused of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and bank fraud.
Investigators say a group has been targeting financial institutions since Sept. 1, 2019, by manipulating ATMs to record debit card information and then make cloned debit cards to steal money.
The total amount of money stolen is still be calculated, but authorities say it was at least $200,000.
Authorities believe the suspects committed the fraud at several institution, including:
- Honor Credit Union in Battle Creek, which is reporting a loss of about $6,440 connected to 36 fraudulent transactions.
- Michigan First Credit Union in the metro Detroit area, which is reporting a loss of about about $22,000 connected to 125 fraudulent transactions.
- Lake Trust Credit Union in Ann Arbor, which is reporting a loss of about $41,222.
About 300 debit cards were involved in the incidents at Honor Credit Union, investigators say.
A connection between incidents was made after a common source was traced.
Authorities also believe Mastan was seen in surveillance video committing fraudulent translations in Omaha, Nebraska.
Detectives determined that Flore and Mastan could be working together when they were seen on surveillance video making transactions at a Michigan First Credit Union ATM in a Kroger grocery store in Sterling Heights within an hour of each other.
Flore’s license plate was read on highways in Michigan and Indian several times, which led to arrests of both him and Mastan on May 22. At the time, several items believed to be used in the incidents were seized, along with about $16,000.
Mastan admitted to incidents involving the bank withdrawals but did not provide specific details to investigators.
Flore was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Authorities say he is a Romanian citizen who overstayed his immigration status.
Mastan also is a Romanian national, but is a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. His immigration status expires in 2023.