ATM

ERIE — A man facing charges related to ATM-skimming devices used in the Meadville area was indicted by a federal grand jury in Erie, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Scott Brady on Wednesday.

The indictment alleges that Janos Vaczi, 48, has conspired to use such devices in the region since approximately March 2018, when authorities believe he entered the country illegally, according to a press release from Brady.

Vaczi faces charges of access device fraud and aggravated identity theft in the 12-count indictment, according to Brady.

Vaczi is accused of installing skimming devices at an ATM in the Meadville area and using the data from the devices to create fake debit cards and steal thousands of dollars last month from at least 264 bank accounts around Meadville and Erie, according to the criminal complaint filed by the FBI. Marquette Savings Bank reported losses of at least $50,000, according to the criminal complaint.

According to Brady, the indictment alleges that from approximately March 2018 until last month Vaczi conspired to use unauthorized access devices, such as fake debit cards, by installing skimming devices in western Pennsylvania and elsewhere, resulting in losses to banks, credit unions and their customers.

Questions about Vaczi’s identity arose when an FBI check of his fingerprints revealed a match with the fingerprints of a man claiming to be named Daniel Tudor, who was detained by federal immigration authorities in March 2018, when he was caught attempting to enter the United States from Canada. Tudor provided authorities with a Romanian passport when he was detained, according to FBI testimony at Vaczi’s preliminary hearing in late June.

When questioned and subsequently charged by the FBI last month, Vaczi presented a Hungarian driver's license, according to the criminal complaint.

Vaczi was the sole defendant named in the indictment. When FBI agents confronted Vaczi and said they had video of his installing skimming equipment, Vaczi responded that "they (his co-conspirators) gave him the equipment that way," according to a search warrant application filed by authorities in the case.

The charges against Vaczi carry a potential 60 years in prison, a fine of $750,000 or both. 

Mike Crowley can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at mcrowley@meadvilletribune.com.

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