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Press Release

Romanian National Pleads Guilty to Using and Trafficking in Unauthorized Access Devices

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Louisiana

United States Attorney Brandon J. Fremin announced today that CONSTANTIN TANASE, age 40, of Bacau, Romania, pled guilty before U.S. District Judge John W. deGravelles to using and trafficking in unauthorized access devices.  As a result of his conviction, TANASE faces a term of imprisonment, a fine, and a period of supervised release.

According to admissions made during his plea, from November 9, 2018 through November 15, 2018, TANASE was part of a group who traveled to the Baton Rouge area to conduct ATM fraud.  The group distributed fraudulent debit cards to its members and instructed them to go to certain ATMs and withdraw money until the cards stopped working.  The true owners of the debit cards were unaware of this activity and did not authorize the cash withdrawals. 

Specifically, in the early morning of November 14, 2018, TANASE was a passenger in a car that drove up to a bank ATM in Gonzales, Louisiana.  TANASE placed black tape over the ATM camera lens, where it remained while he conducted transactions, and then removed the tape before the car drove away.  Over the course of 90 minutes, occasionally leaving to permit another customer to use the ATM and then returning, TANASE used over 40 unauthorized cards to fraudulently withdraw over $7,000 from the ATM. 

U.S. Attorney Brandon J. Fremin stated, “Access device fraud including the fraudulent use of personal financial information will not be tolerated in this district, and our office is committed to protecting consumers and businesses from these criminals.  Special thanks to our prosecutor and to the dedicated professionals from the U.S. Secret Service and the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office who worked on this investigation and prosecution.” 

Resident Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service in Baton Rouge, Tara McLeese, stated, “This case is a perfect example of the strong partnerships between federal and local law enforcement, specifically those departments who are members of the Southwest Louisiana Financial Crimes Task Force which is overseen by the Secret Service.  The resources of the task force help bring criminals to justice with minimal impact to victims and the community.”

This matter is being investigated by the U.S. Secret Service with critical assistance from the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Elizabeth White. 

Updated July 24, 2019

Financial Fraud