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Two More Alleged Skimmers Presented In Romania Case Lawyers On Phone Amid Coronavirus

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, March 16 – A dozen men in shackles charged with ATM skimming came into  the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York courtroom of Judge Laura Taylor Swain on January 9. They had interpreters in French and Romanian, and now a coordinating discovery attorney, Emma G. Greenwood.

  But on Monday, March 16, amid the Coronavirus crisis when two more defendant in the case extradited from Romania on Friday were presented before SDNY Magistrate Judge Stewart D. Aaron, their lawyers were not physically present. They appeared by telephone. One asked that his business card be given to his client. For the other, the defendant asked who he was.

   Both asked that their appointments be back dated to March 9. It was granted, and the defendants were detained on consent. But how would a bail hearing have been held in these conditions? Inner City Press will continue to cover this. The case is US v. Constantinescu, et al., 19-cr-651 (Swain). 

  Of the eight who are in detention, six wore beige and two were in blue. One had a lawyer who arrived late - a lawyer Inner City Press recently saw practicing across the East River in the EDNY - but for whom another CJA lawyer filled in. It was all very genteel, and all pushed forward to April 23 with time excluded.

   Inner City Press has been covering this case since Thanksgiving.

Then on December 5 three more co-defendants were presented in the Mag Court, again with Inner City Press the only media present. They included Cristian Almanu and Madlin Alexandru Anca, represented by Justin Foy. They were added to the January 9 conference before Judge Swain, and detained upon consent. Inner City Press tweeted at Romania's Mission to the UN for comment, but received none. So much for consular notice. We'll have more on this.

On November 27 it was Constantinescu "a/k/a 'Sobo' shipped a credit card point-of-sale terminal used to fashion skimming devices from a shipping facility in or around Mt. Pocono, Pennsylvania to Veracruz, Mexico, on or about June 26, 2018."

    Hanes-Calugaru for his part "installed skimming devices on an ATM in or around Canterbury, Connecticut on or about January 7 and 14, 2017."

     Diaconu "used fraudulent debit cards to withdraw cash from victim accountholders' bank accounts using ATMs in or around Chattanooga and Ooltewah, Tennessee or about about June 2 and 3, 2018."   

All three were detained. Two will have a bail hearing on December 6 before SDNY Judge Laura T. Swain who has already denied bond in the case to Nikolaos Limberatos a/k/a Nicu Limberto, on the grounds that the US would not seek his extradition from Greece if he managed to flee there.

  Judge Swain did, however, grant co-defendant Andrew Eliopoulos' request to travel to Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving.

  All three defendants are slated to appear before Judge Swain on January 9, 2020. The case is US v. Constantinescu, et al., 19-cr-651 (Swain). 


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