Two Romanians have been extradited to Atlanta, Georgia to face federal charges of wire fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, computer fraud and abuse, and aggravated identity theft, the Northern District of Georgia said in a press release
From October 2011 until February 2014 Teodor Laurentiu Costea, 41, and Robert Codrut Dumitrescu, 40, are accused of conducting elaborate phishing schemes stealing banking information from targeted Atlanta residents.
The duo allegedly identified vulnerable computers in the U.S. and installed interactive voice response (IVR) software that would automatically interact with call recipients. IVR technology allows a computer to interact with people over the phone through the use of voice and dual-tone multi-frequency (DTMF) input via a keypad.
The defendants allegedly installed software on infected machines to initiate thousands of automated telephone calls and text messages to victims. The messages, made to look as though they were from a financial institution, directed victims to call a number due to a problem with their account. When victims called the number, they were prompted by the IVR to enter their bank account numbers, PINs, and full or partial Social Security numbers.
The stolen information was stored on the compromised computers themselves and accessed by the perpetrators at the time of their choosing. Financial losses from the scheme are estimated at over $18 million, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
A third alleged co-conspirator, Cosmin Draghici, 28, is accused in the press release of selling or using the fraudulently obtained information for the group’s personal gain. It isn’t clear if Draghici himself has been, or will be extradited to the U.S.
The DoJ, however, clarifies that the indictment only contains charges and are presumed innocent unless the government can produce solid evidence that the defendants are indeed guilty.