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Press Release

Three Romanians Plead Guilty in St. Louis; Admit Nationwide Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri

ST. LOUIS – Three Romanian citizens have pleaded guilty to federal charges in St. Louis and admitted running a “short-change fraud” in stores across the country.

Loredana Angel, 34, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court Thursday to felony charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and illegal reentry of an alien. Daniel Rostas, 30, pleaded guilty Wednesday and Legenda Rostas, 28, pleaded guilty March 1 to the same charges. Loredana Angel and Legenda Rostas told authorities that they are sisters and that the Rostas are married.

All three admitted engaging in sleight of hand to defraud Target stores since 2017 while buying various denominations of Visa gift cards. When purchasing the cards, they would display the full purchase price in cash, then fold over a portion and keep it while handing the rest to store employees. They would target younger or less experienced employees and wire the money they made to family in Romania. 

Target records show Legenda Rostas was involved in $224,666 in fraud at stores throughout the country, her plea agreement says. Angel admitted involvement in about $83,865 in fraud. Records show Daniel Rostas wired about $62,534 to Romania and elsewhere. 

All three also admitted entering the country illegally. Angel was removed from the United States on June 24, 2019. Daniel Rostas was removed twice, on Nov. 13, 2019 and Oct. 14, 2020. Legenda Rostas was removed on Dec. 28, 2020.

Arnold, Missouri police were initially alerted to Daniel Rostas on Oct. 14, 2022 by a Home Depot loss prevention officer. Officers later questioned Angel and Legenda Rostas. All three gave fake names and false identification to police. They were traveling with multiple license plates in their minivan, and police also found cash, gift cards and Western Union receipts. All three agreed as part of their plea to forfeit the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica, $10,567 in cash and $11,300 in prepaid Visa gift cards.

Legenda Rostas is scheduled to be sentenced May 31 and the co-defendants on July 24. The conspiracy charge carries a potential penalty of up to 20 years in prison. The reentry charge carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison.

The case was investigated by the Arnold Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations. 

Updated April 13, 2023

Financial Fraud