Two Brazilian nationals who used bank customers’ account information obtained by an ATM “skimming” device have pleaded guilty in federal court.
Julio Lopez Da Silva, 38, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, while Anderson Santos, 41, pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft in U.S. District Court in Brunswick, said United States Attorney Bobby L. Christine.
Da Silva faces sentencing of up to 30 years in prison, while Santos faces a mandatory two-year sentence. There is no parole in the federal system.
The two were named in September in a six-count indictment alleging their participation in a scheme that involved placing card-reading devices on ATMs to capture customer information, and then using the information to encode blank cards to withdraw substantial amounts of money.
After the men were arrested Dec. 3, 2017, in Savannah, police searched a Port Wentworth hotel where the two were staying and discovered skimming equipment and nearly $20,000 in cash.
The guilty pleas from Da Silva and Santos follow similar recent cases in the coastal area, all involving foreign nationals operating illegal skimmers.
Adrian Burloiu, 39, a Romanian national, pleaded guilty Dec. 11, 2018, to possessing 15 or more unauthorized access devices and now faces up to 10 years in prison.
In March, Yosvel Licor Nunez, 36, was sentenced to 20 months in prison; Yampiel Granja Sotolongo, 35, was sentenced to 28 months; and Yoisel Pego Mirabal, 32, was sentenced to 27 months – all for their part in a scheme to operate skimmers that stole customer information at gas stations. All three men are Cuban nationals.
The cases were investigated by the United States Secret Service, along with the Rincon Police Department, Savannah Police Department, Port Wentworth Police Department, the Richmond Hill Police Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“These cases demonstrate the success of cooperative investigations by federal and local agencies teaming up against those who would attempt to profit from fraud and theft,’” said Christine. “Law enforcement agencies and prosecutors working together will find these criminals, no matter their national origin, and we will send them to prison.”
For retailers and financial institutions seeking additional information on ATM and gas pump skimming, please contact local Secret Service Field Office at www.secretservice.gov and ask to speak to the Electronic Crimes Task Force representative.