Feds make arrest in high-tech ATM 'skimming' scam

MELVILLE - Federal officials have arrested a Romanian citizen who they say used high-tech "skimming" devices to steal at least $1.5 million from bank customers.

According to investigators, Laurentiu Lulian Bulat installed the devices on at least 40 ATMs at HSBC banks on the Island, in New York City and in Westchester County since last September.

Court documents state that Bulat used compromised card readers and "pinhole" cameras to read the information on debit cards and watch customers enter their PIN numbers on the machine.

Special Agent Farrell Dolan says Bulat was part of an organized crime ring involving 15-20 people. He says the Romanian citizen, who is in the U.S. illegally, was captured on surveillance video several times. Court papers claim Bulat admitted to being the man in the images, but claimed that he was just using the ATM machines as a customer.

Bulat has been charged with bank fraud. If convicted, he could face 60 years in prison.

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