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Woman sentenced in ‘skimming’ operation

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Last edited 1:16 p.m., Oct. 21, 2019

A Romanian national was sentenced for her part in a so-called skimming operation at half-a-dozen or more local banks.

Skimming is the act of placing a device on ATMs to steal customer information stored in a credit card’s magnet stripe, according to a news release from the office of Tim Garrison, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

Loredana Baceanu, 31, was sentenced to two years and six months in federal prison without parole and ordered to pay $35,807 in restitution. Baceanu and co-conspirators conducted the illegal activity over the course of two weeks about a year ago.

Central Bank of the Ozarks and Southern Bank were among companies targeted in the scheme, according to the release. At Southern Bank, employees discovered individuals targeting four separate ATMs in Springfield and Nixa and withdrawing money from multiple accounts.

On Oct. 23, 2018, Southern Bank’s Nixa branch manager was filing a police report when Baceanu returned to its ATM with her 14-year-old son. She was arrested in the parking lot with 49 re-encoded and counterfeited gift and credit cards, as well as $880, concealed. A micro SD storage card and Florida identification card fell from somewhere in her shirt when she was being arrested. Officials discovered the Micro SD card had stolen information for hundreds of  customers from multiple banks.

Hundreds — and possibly thousands — of victims were harmed in the scheme, according to the release. Officials believe Baceanu intended to carry out similar crimes in other communities.

Baceanu pleaded guilty on June 24 to possessing counterfeit and unauthorized access devices.

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