Three Romanians Plead Guilty In $21 Million Phishing Scheme

ATLANTA – Robert Codrut Dumitrescu has pleaded guilty to federal charges of wire fraud conspiracy, computer fraud and abuse, and aggravated identity theft in connection with a Romania-based scheme that stole $21 million worth of Social Security and bank account information. His conspirators, Teodor Laurentiu Costea and Cosmin Draghici, also pleaded guilty earlier this year to federal charges.

According to prosecutors, from October 2011 through February 2014, Dumitrescu, Costea and Draghici conducted a “vishing” and “smishing” scheme from Romania. “Vishing” is a type of phishing scheme that communicates a phishing message purporting to be from a legitimate source, in this case the victims’ banks, through a voice recording. “Smishing” is similar to “vishing,” but communicates the message through text.

The men compromised computer servers located in metro Atlanta and elsewhere, and installed software which initiated thousands of telephone calls and text messages to victims across the United States. The victims were tricked into disclosing financial account numbers, PINs, and Social Security numbers. When a victim received a telephone call, the recipient would be greeted by a recorded message falsely claiming to be a bank. The software then prompted the victim to enter their information.

At the time of their arrests in Romania, Dumitrescu possessed 3,278 financial account numbers, Costea possessed 36,050 financial account numbers, and Draghici possessed 3,465 financial account numbers, all stolen. Based upon these numbers alone, the estimated loss amount is expected to exceed $21,000,000.

All three men were extradited from Romania to Atlanta last year to face charges.

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