An Italian national was sentenced Wednesday to nearly two years behind bars for his role in a Romanian crime crew that installed skimming devices and cameras at Los Angeles-area ATMs in order to steal customers’ banking information.
Sebastian-Alin Marita, 43, of Rome, was also ordered to pay a share of $84,000 in restitution. He is expected to be turned over to immigration authorities for deportation following his 21-month federal prison term, according to U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald.
Marita pleaded guilty in June to a federal charge of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Two co-defendants were previously sentenced to prison and two others are scheduled to be sentenced next month.
Speaking through a Romanian interpreter, Marita told the judge he came to the United States for legitimate work reasons, but was “influenced” by his co-conspirators upon arrival.
“I’m extremely sorry,” he told the judge. “I wish I could go home as soon as possible.”
The scheme operated from 2012 until the five defendants — who all pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge — were arrested in April.
Cosmin Mihai Cozma, who ran the operation, will forfeit $139,000 in cash and a pricey Hublot watch seized by law enforcement, according to his plea deal. Court papers show that he is in the United States illegally and holds a Romanian passport in his name and a Danish passport in the name of “Dominic Anderson.” He is set to be sentenced on Dec. 12.