SAN DIEGO - Members of a Romanian Crime Ring that targeted residents in San Diego and other Southern California communities are now facing federal charges.
The six Romanian nationals, two of whom are under arrest in the U.S., were originally facing state charges for robbery and wire fraud.
“Our office is proud to hold these people accountable for targeting elderly and Asian communities in San Diego,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Schulberg told NBC 7.
The crime ring was able to steal jewelry from several victims.
“Sometimes they would use force but most of the time what they would do is go up to people and offer to sell some sort of fake jewelry and put it on them then they would steal their real jewelry,” Schulberg said.
The jewelry was sold at pawn shops, then that money was used to buy gold bars and buy sports cars, which were then shipped back to Romania. In addition to the jewelry, the crime ring also stole millions of dollars in state unemployment benefits.
At least 17 victims have been identified and if the crime ring members are convicted, those victims could receive restitution.