Foreign Nationals Indicted In NationalCredit Card Ring

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LAS VEGAS - (03/22/06) -- A group of 10 Romanian nationalswere charged with operating a nationwide stolen credit card ringthat siphoned hundreds of thousands of dollars, maybe millions,from consumers, their banks and credit unions, in a federalindictment unsealed here last week. The group was charged withstealing or manufacturing hundreds of counterfeit credit cards andusing the bogus cards to either purchase merchandise or withdrawcash in casinos in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Mississippi. Becausesome automated machines in Las Vegas do no dispense cash, butprovide vouchers or checks, ring members employed 'runners' whoused fake photo identification to cash the vouchers at numerouscasinos, according to the indictment, obtained by The Credit UnionJournal. The group apparently originated its schemes in New Yorkand elsewhere along the east coast, but expanded to Las Vegas.Natalie Collins, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office in LasVegas, said it was not unusual for foreign rings to execute suchschemes in Las Vegas. "Casinos are like big banks, there's a lot ofmoney in circulation," she told The Credit Union Journal. Named inthe indictment are: Stefan Naghiu, Marius Ciurea, DumitruNiculescu, Vasile Tiganescu, Valentin Gane, Roberto Popa, MariusMorea and Daniel Vaida. Authorities are not clear if this ring isconnected to a group of Romanian nationals arrested in Californiafor 'skimming' credit card information at Arco gas pumps, thencreating counterfeit credit/debit cards to withdraw hundreds ofthousands of dollars in Indian casinos in the Sacramentoarea.

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