A Queens woman was sentenced to jail time for her role in a scam to skim the credit cards of LIRR customers.
Teodora Zaharia, 28, of Kew Gardens, will spend nine months in jail after pleading guilty to fourth-degree grand larceny. Zaharia agreed to pay more than $61,000 back that was found in cash in her apartment during an investigation.
Zaharia and her husband, Valer, 38, pleaded guilty in March to orchestrating a scam to steal financial information from LIRR commuters. The scam, officials said, involved hiding bank card "skimmers" at commuter ticket vending machines. The skimmers were accompanied by hidden pin cameras that would spy on each person as they entered their PIN numbers, which were used to steal money.
The Zaharias' accomplices, Dorin Husa, 37, and Niculae Petre, 45, both of Elmhurst, pleaded guilty in March to one count each of criminal possession of forgery devices.
The four-person conspiracy was discovered in October. The scam involved placing pinhole cameras, hidden inside black metal strips, over the keypads on nine different ticket vending machines on Long Island and Westchester. Combining the cameras with skimming devices, the quartet were able to capture PIN codes and card information and stealing thousands of dollars from more than 50 bank accounts.
Police were alerted of the scam after a customer discovered a small video camera on the floor at a LIRR station Oct. 18. Cops combed through Long Island's machines and found cameras at Sea Cliff, Bayside, Great Neck, Merrillon Avenue, and Greenvale stations. After searching through the entire 278 ticket vending machines in the LIRR system, three additional cameras were discovered at the Chappaqua station.
Cops were in touch with banks to alert them of the scam so they could notify possible victims.