Last of 4 LIRR Ticket Machine Skim Scammers Sentenced

From left: Valer Zaharia, Dorin Husa, Teodora Zaharia and Niculae Petre (NCDA)

Sentences have been handed down to the last of four Romanian immigrants who admitted to their roles in a card-skimming scheme that targeted Long Island Rail Road ticket machines last year.

Nassau County Judge Christopher Quinn sentenced Dorin Husa, 38, and 46-year-old Niculae Petre to a year in jail on Thursday after they pleaded guilty in March to criminal possession of forgery devices. They were also ordered to forfeit $7,000 in proceeds that investigators found in their apartment.

Authorities said the duo were involved with fellow Queens residents Valer Zaharia, 38, and his 27-year-old wife, Teodora Zaharia, who each pleaded guilty to grand larceny. Teodora was sentenced to nine months in jail last month. Valer, who also pleaded guilty to conspiracy last month, was sentenced to 2 to 6 years in prison—in addition to forfeiting $61,251.

MTA police officers arrested the couple in October a day after watching them retrieve two skimming devices and hidden cameras from Ticket Vending Machines at the Sea Cliff LIRR station.

When police executed a search warrant on the couple’s apartment, investigators found materials used to manufacture credit card skimmers and cameras installed at LIRR and Metro-North Rail Road stations, plus cash obtained using stolen bank information, authorities said.

A fifth man, 31-year-old Cezar Nastasa, who fled the country when the other four were arrested, is wanted on charges of grand larceny, conspiracy, unlawful possession of a skimmer device and criminal possession of a forgery device.