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Judge: Sarah E. Pitlyk
Court: United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri (St. Louis County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office in St. Louis
Description: St. Louis, Missouri criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charged with running a "short-change fraud" in stores across the country.
Daniel Rostas, 30, Loredana Angel, 35, and Legenda Rostas, 28, all pleaded guilty to felony charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and illegal reentry of an alien. All admitted engaging in sleight of hand to defraud Target stores for years while buying Visa gift cards. When purchasing the cards, they would display the full purchase price in cash, then fold over a portion and keep it while handing the rest of the money to store employees. They targeted younger or less experienced employees and wired the money they made to relatives in Romania.
Legenda Rostas was involved in $224,666 in fraud since 2017, her plea agreement says, with Angel admitting about $83,865 in fraud. Records show Daniel Rostas wired about $62,534 to Romania and elsewhere.
“Fraud is often mistaken for a victimless crime,” said acting Special Agent in Charge of the HSI Kansas City Area of Operations Taekuk Cho. “But when individuals commit these types of crimes, whether it be through heightened prices to recoup lost funds, employee layoffs, or a multitude of other possible losses to the economy, these criminals are most certainly victimizing consumers and businesses.”
Loredana Angel and Legenda Rostas told authorities that they are sisters and that the Rostas are married.
All three also admitted entering the country illegally after being removed from the United States before. Daniel Rostas has been removed twice.
The case was investigated by the Arnold Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations.
Outcome: Daniel Rostas, 30, was sentenced to 15 months in prison, Loredana Angel, 35, was sentenced to 10 months in prison, and Legenda Rostas, 28, was sentenced to two years in prison.