8 May 2019
Romanian judicial and law enforcement authorities, in close cooperation with Eurojust, dismantled an organised crime group involved in a scam of counterfeiting fuel cards. Twenty-seven houses were searched in Romania, and 24 suspects were identified and are subject to further measures. Eurojust assisted in the cross-border investigations of the Member States concerned by facilitating the coordination of today’s operation as well as the exchange of data, by holding three coordination meetings, and by swiftly transmitting and executing European Investigation Orders.
The Romanian Prosecutors from the Directorate for Investigation of Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT), Piteşti Territorial Service, together with police officers from the Organised Crime Brigades of several Romanian cities, initiated their investigation into an organised crime group (OCG), which culminated in today’s joint operation. Six other EU Member States provided important information in the preparation of the operation.
The OCG members, who were mainly Romanian nationals, fraudulently copied the data stored on the magnetic stripe of fuel cards, which belonged to several people outside Romania. The alleged fraudsters installed special copying devices into payment terminals (ATMs) located abroad, to extract the magnetic stripe data and manufacture counterfeit copies of the original fuel cards. They then used the fake cards at filling stations to refuel their cars to the detriment of the original card holders.
The OCG members are suspected of constituting and participating in a criminal organisation, illegal access to computer systems in a continuous form, computer fraud and illegal handling of devices and software. Following today’s successful operation, the authorities seized several ATM card readers, copying and storage devices for card readers, microchip devices for PIN code registration, special equipment to create such devices, as well as amounts of cannabis.
Image © Shutterstock