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Financial Intelligence Unit shuts down accounts used in Cancun card cloning scheme

Cancun, Q.R. — The head of the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Ministry of Finance has reported the discovery and freezing of 79 bank accounts believed linked to card cloning in the Cancun, Riviera Maya region.

Santiago Nieto Castillo, head of the Unit, has reported the 79 individual and corporate accounts are likely part of a Romanian mafia group known to clone cards through ATMs. The group has been particularly active in the Cancun, Riviera Maya region for years.

“By agreement of the national security cabinet of the Government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, we blocked 79 individual and company accounts from a criminal group with people of Romanian and Mexican nationality who were dedicated to cloning credit and debit cards in tourist destinations,” the federal official wrote on social media.

The step taken is the product of a joint investigation between his unit and the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), who in February 2020, began to dismantle the group.

Authorities say they believe the group operates in several countries, but have their main base of operations in Cancun, in the state of Quintana Roo.

Santiago Nieto has said that the information provided by the State of Quintana Roo allowed greater coordination between their agency and the FBI to dismantle the Romanian mafia, who they believe, is responsible for more than $240 million USD in card cloning theft.

As part of their Caribbean Operation, the Financial Intelligence Unit blocked the accounts of 79 Romanians who were linked to the bank card cloning network and trafficking headed by Romanian, Florian Tudor.

Tudor and his members are said to be part of Intacash, installing illegal bank card readers in ATMs with bribes or by coercing bank technicians. The compromised ATMs were found in tourist areas of Quintana Roo and identified by means of a Bluetooth signal with the alias Free2Move.

The 70 Intacash ATMs in Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and Tulum did not present illegal readers, but the information entered was registered and saved by the company for later use.

For years, Tudor had managed to avoid state and federal authority investigations. However, with the change of government in Quintana Roo, investigations began to move forward in coordination with the Attorney General’s Office.

Florian Tudor and the criminal group he allegedly leads, are also being investigated by the Directorate of Investigations of Offenders of Organized Crime and Terrorism of Romania. According to the Romanian government, the money it obtains illegally is laundered in that country.