Sunday, July 22, 2007

Employee admits stealing from ATMs

NEW HAVEN, Conn. --A Wethersfield man admitted Friday to stealing nearly $144,000 from ATM machines and trying to ship the money to Romania, federal authorities said.

Ionel Faina, 46, pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering in U.S. District Court in New Haven.

Faina was employed as an ATM technician for Loomis Fargo and was responsible for delivering cash to ATM machines.

On Jan. 19, Faina stole $143,860 from five ATM machines, four of which were owned by Bank of America and one of which was owned by NewAlliance Bank, authorities said.

On Jan. 20, Faina bought a plane ticket for a flight to Romania that was leaving later that evening from JFK Airport in New York. He also bought an unassembled wood file cabinet from Wal-Mart, removed some of the wood pieces from the box containing the wood cabinet and packed approximately $129,000 of the stolen funds into the wood cabinet box, prosecutors said.

He then attempted to mail the package containing the cabinet and stolen funds to an addressee in Bucharest, Romania, from a post office in Hartford, authorities said.

After depositing the package at the post office, Faina attempted to hire an individual to drive him to JFK Airport so that he could fly to Romania.

Wethersfield Police stopped a car Faina was driving on the Berlin Turnpike. A search revealed the remaining stolen money packed in Faina's clothing and travel bags, authorities said.

Faina faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 when he is sentenced Oct. 5.

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