3 accused of robbing low-income families, EBT recipients across California

Three people are accused of stealing millions of dollars from EBT beneficiaries and low-income families throughout the state of California, federal authorities say. 

It was a case that involved the United States Secret Service (USSS) and federal police from another country.

Forty-four-year-old Petrica Mosneagu, 38-year-old Ionut Sopirla, and 42-year-old Virgil Tudorascu have been charged with stealing EBT account information from low-income families and making unauthorized cash withdrawals.

Mosneagu and Sopirla were arrested Tuesday afternoon in Oakland. Tudorascu was arrested Thursday morning in Oakland. All three were booked into the Santa Rita Jail and were denied bail.

Federal authorities allege the men, all from Romania, withdrew cash from cloned cards with legitimate EBT card information. Authorities say they got the EBT recipients' information from skimming their cards at ATM or point-of-sale terminals.

They are suspected of stealing nearly $23 million, with the victims being EBT beneficiaries who depend on the money to use to buy food and other household necessities, federal authorities say.

The USSS led the investigation involving several law enforcement agencies, including the Berkeley, Oakland, Pleasant Hill, Richmond Police Departments, Alameda County Sheriff's Office, Homeland Security, and San Francisco Human Services Agency-Special Investigations Unit, over 14 months, ending in March 2024.

The USSS in Bucharest and the Romanian National Police were also involved in the investigation.

The men are scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday and could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.