GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (USDOJ.Today) – On August 7, 2020, United States District Judge Clifton L. Corker, Eastern District of Tennessee at Greeneville, sentenced Rancu Ionut a/k/a Ambroz Bojan, 35, and Andrei Razvan Pusculau a/k/a Victor Frana, 30, both from Romania, to federal prison terms for conducting a bank fraud and identity theft scheme.
Both defendants had plead guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft earlier this year. Pusculau was sentenced to 45 months in prison, followed by three years’ supervised release, and Iounut was sentenced to 42 months in prison, followed by three years’ supervised release. Both men will be required to make restitution of $5,700 to victim banks and forfeit $8,234.74 seized from them when arrested.
In June 2019, both men traveled from Atlanta to various locations in East Tennessee in a vehicle that Pusculau rented. The pair had covered up the vehicle tag in an effort to avoid detection. The sole purpose of their trip was to steal money by using counterfeit access devices (magnetic striped cards) linked to individual bank accounts at various financial institutions around the country. They used the fraudulent access devices at ATMs and point of sale terminals to obtain cash proceeds. On July 5, 2019, a Bristol police officer observed the pair at a local bank and detained them after they had attempted to make a cash withdrawal from ATMs. Both men initially provided false names to the officer, and Pusculau provided a false identification. The men were arrested, and a search of their rental vehicle turned up a secret compartment containing 150 counterfeit access devices linked to consumer accounts at multiple banking institutions. The search also revealed $8,234.74 in U.S. currency the men admitted were proceeds from their thefts.
The criminal indictment resulted from an investigation by the Bristol Tennessee Police Department and the United States Secret Service.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mac D. Heavener, III represented the United States.