California Crime News

Romanian Most-Wanted Arrested in Orange County with 47 Others Accused of Card Skimming Gang in SoCal

Romanian Most-Wanted Arrested in Orange County with 47 Others Accused of Card Skimming Gang in SoCal

Orange County, CA: The authorities in Orange County arrested 48 people suspected of being members of Romanian organized crime groups.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office says that the detained persons were involved in a large-scale scheme to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from California’s public aid programs.

The police say that Florin Duduianu is one of the most wanted men in Romania and was caught with other people. Members of the group would put card skimming devices at gas pumps, ATMs, and checkout stands all over the area to steal information from EBT cards that were meant to help low-income Californians.

The suspects would then buy expensive cars and live a lavish lifestyle with the money they got illegally, according to the D.A.’s Office. Orange County police caught a man in Cypress and found him to have $30,000 in cash and 60 fake EBT cards with stolen card numbers and PINs.

A suspect in Brea had $27,000 in cash and 42 copied cards.

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During a search in Seal Beach, investigators discovered over 200 cloned cards and $14,000 hidden in a suspect’s glove box. According to investigators, the suspect made repeated trips to a convenience store ATM to make illicit withdrawals.

CalWORKs is a program that provides cash assistance to dependent families. It has been a common target of scammers and criminals, resulting in millions of dollars in fraud losses each year.

Although the crimes do not appear to be violent, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer says they leave numerous victims in their wake.

To make changes to the CalWORKs program, the District Attorney has asked Gov. Gavin Newsom to order the state to protect EBT cards better, such as by adding chip technology that keeps scams away.

Police have since advised on how to lower the chance of having your EBT information stolen. That means checking the card reader before you buy something, covering your card numbers during the transaction so that any secret cameras can’t steal the information, and changing your PIN often.

The authorities have not completely disclosed the information about the identities of the arrested individuals. All the cash and other things were confiscated by the police.

To report EBT theft, call 800-281-9799 or contact the local police station in your area.

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