Friday, May 28, 2004 | 8:59 a.m.
Authorities are continuing to search for four Southern Nevada residents wanted in connection with a Romanian crime ring alleged to have used purloined credit cards and fake driver's licenses to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The four are charged in federal racketeering indictments that name a total of 21 defendants and allege a conspiracy to use the stolen credit cards to get cash advances at Las Vegas casinos.
FBI agents are trying to find Florin Iancu, 34; his brother, Mihai Iancu, 27; Armenoui Garibian, 42; and Claudiu Dimitru Moisa, as well as other defendants who live in Illinois, California, Washington and Florida.
As of Thursday, eight Las Vegas Valley residents are among nine of the 21 defendants who have been arrested.
Two of the defendants, Eduard Andronescu, 28, of Henderson and Nicolae Dragoi, 36, of Las Vegas appeared Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Lawrence Leavitt. Andronescu was ordered held without bond, and Dragoi's bond was set at $400,000.
Their two racketeering indictments were unsealed by Leavitt Tuesday. The indictments, returned by a federal grand jury on May 11, allege racketeering, fraudulent use and trafficking in unauthorized and counterfeit credit cards, conspiracy, and possession of document-making equipment.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Vasquez estimated at a federal court hearing Wednesday that the losses caused by the alleged illegal activity could total more than $1 million.
According to the indictments, the credit card rings allegedly sent out runners across the country to steal credit cards. The cards were then transported to Las Vegas where they were used in concert with fake driver's licenses to get cash advances at casinos and from ATM machines. The credit cards were also used at casinos in Reno and Atlantic City.
On Tuesday the FBI seized the ring's computers, printers, digital cameras, lock-picking tools, laminators, credit cards, ATM components and an ATM machine from five locations in Las Vegas, authorities said.