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Ohio Woman Admits ATM Skimming Activity at Greenwich Bank

Ohio Woman Admits ATM Skimming Activity that Victimized Banks in Connecticut, Other States

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that MAYA FLORINA LUIZA DeSTEFFANO, also known as “Maya-Luisa Pastorelli” and “Maria,” 61, of Cleveland, Ohio, pleaded guilty today in Hartford federal court to conspiracy and identity theft charges stemming from ATM skimming activity that defrauded banks in Connecticut and other states.

According to court documents and statements in court today, between February and June 2017, a Connecticut bank experienced approximately 35 incidents of ATM skimming at locations in Stratford, Monroe, Trumbull, Greenwich, Fairfield and elsewhere in Connecticut.  As part of the scheme, conspiracy members placed skimming devices at the ATMs to capture account numbers and personal identification numbers (“PIN numbers”) from customers who used their ATM cards at the ATMs while the devices were in place.  Conspiracy members then used the captured information to make substitute ATM cards, and obtained money and made purchases using those cards.  The bank suffered losses of approximately $286,069 during the scheme.

In pleading guilty, DeSteffano admitted that she installed and removed ATM skimming equipment at several locations, and used re-encoded cards and PINs to obtain money from several bank locations.  She further admitted that, in December 2017, she participated in ATM skimming activity in Virginia and Maryland and, in September and October 2018, she participated in skimming activity Georgia.  The banks victimized in these schemes suffered total losses of more than $191,000.

DeSteffano was arrested in Cleveland, Ohio, on December 14, 2018.  She has been detained since her arrest.

DeSteffano pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years, and one count of aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory consecutive prison term of imprisonment of two years.  She is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea on November 22, 2019.

On August 23, 2019, George Dragusin, a co-conspirator of DeSteffano in the Connecticut ATM skimming activity, pleaded guilty to the same charges.  Dragusin, a citizen of Romania, also admitted that, between March and September 2018, he participated in ATM skimming activity in Nevada, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and California, causing multiple banks to suffer total losses of more than $645,000.  He is detained pending sentencing.

The investigation is being conducted by the Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force; the U.S. Secret Service in New Haven and Las Vegas; the Greenwich Police Department; the Monroe Police Department; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); the New York Police Department; the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department; the Lawrenceville (Georgia) Police Department; the Dixon (Calif.) Police Department, and the Hayward (Calif.) Police Department.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anastasia E. King.

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