Skip to main content
Press Release

Romanian Nationals Plead Guilty in Federal Court to Illegal Possession of Device Making Equipment and Possession of Fifteen or More Counterfeit or Unauthorized Access Devices

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

United States Attorney Brandon J. Fremin announced that Cristian Constantin, age 20, and Mihaela Stancu, age 25, both of Romania, pled guilty before U.S. Chief Judge Shelly D. Dick.  Constantin pled guilty to illegal possession of device making equipment and possession of fifteen or more counterfeit or unauthorized access devices.  M. Stancu pled guilty to possession of fifteen or more counterfeit or unauthorized access devices.  Earlier, on October 30, 2019, Petre Stancu and Antonio Serdaru pled guilty to possession of fifteen or more counterfeit access devices.  As a result of their guilty pleas, these defendants face significant terms of imprisonment, fines, and a period of supervised release

On March 9, 2019, a bank fraud investigator with Capital One Bank began following the progress of a group of Romanians driving about Shreveport, Louisiana, using fraudulent credit cards to withdraw sums of cash from various Capital One Bank ATMs.  The investigator then followed their progress from Shreveport to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where the group continued to use those fraudulent cards to withdraw cash at Bank One locations in Baton Rouge.

Upon receiving this information from the investigator, Secret Service immediately passed it on to state and local law enforcement agencies, urging those agencies to rush personnel to those ATM locations to find and apprehend those suspects.

The investigator supplied information surrounding the vehicle makes, license plate numbers, and photographs of individuals in this group.  Those photographs included one of a white Honda Accord, a black Mercedes, and a GMC Terrain.  The investigator shared video stills depicting P. Stancu, Serdaru, and Constantin making fraudulent withdrawals at various Capitol One Bank ATM locations, as well as M. Stancu, marking those cards used by her brother, P. Stancu, to make those fraudulent withdrawals.

Secret Service received information of fraudulent activity occurring at the Bank One ATM at or near 6581 Siegen Lane/Industriplex.  A deputy rushed to that location and found Constantin and a pregnant juvenile in a GMC Terrain.  Law enforcement agents found over one hundred counterfeit credit cards, an encoder device, false identification documents for Constantin, and approximately $5,200. 

Constantin later confessed that he used the credit cards to make fraudulent withdrawals from various Bank One ATM locations.

On March 11, 2019, Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies found and stopped the black Mercedes, driven by P. Stancu, and occupied by his sister, M. Stancu, Serdaru, and a juvenile in Walker, Louisiana.   During this encounter, the juvenile female falsely claimed to be pregnant and requested deputies to allow her to go to the restroom.  After deputies told the juvenile female to wait for an ambulance, she tried to hide a boost bag she was carrying beneath the Mercedes.

Deputies seized the bag and found it contained approximately $3,860 and 191 counterfeit cards.  These cards contained re-encoded account numbers of customers who did their banking with Capital One and Regions Bank.  During their search of the Mercedes, authorities found $931, four gift cards with re-encoded account numbers (counterfeit cards), and a cellular phone.

P. Stancu, M. Stancu and Serdaru admitted to authorities that they used those counterfeit cards to make fraudulent withdrawals from various ATM machines.  Additionally, P. Stancu and Serdaru led authorities to the Honda Accord they left in a parking lot of the Home Depot in Denham Springs, Louisiana.

U.S. Attorney Fremin stated, “Access device fraud is a serious crime that can put citizens in great financial distress.  This office will always take these crimes seriously and work with all of our partners to bring offenders to justice.  I want to commend our prosecutor, the Secret Service, the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office, the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, and the investigators from Capital One Bank, whose quick action resulted in the arrest and conviction of these fraudsters.”

Tara McLeese, Resident Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service in Baton Rouge, praised the quick response of local law enforcement.  McLeese said, “Our partners in state and local law enforcement are critical to suppressing fraudulent financial activities.  Through the Secret Service led Southwest Louisiana Financial Crimes Task Force, there are robust protocols and procedures in place to identify and capture individuals who choose to defraud the public.”

Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard stated, “This case shows that agencies working together and sharing information can lead to great success.  This type of crime heavily impacts these victims - not only taking their money, but targeting their way of living.  When we can work together to take down a group of cowards attacking our hard-working citizens, it is a success in law enforcement.”

This matter is being investigated by the United States Secret Service, with critical assistance from the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office and East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert W. Piedrahita.  

Updated December 19, 2019

Financial Fraud