Greenbelt, Maryland – Nicolae Gindac, age 52, of Dania Beach, Florida, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud. The plea comes in relation to a conspiracy to steal and deposit checks intended for religious institutions.
The guilty plea was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner; Postal Inspector in Charge Peter R. Rendina of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service – Washington Division; Special Agent in Charge James R. Mancuso of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore; Special Agent in Charge Shimon R. Richmond of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General (FDIC-OIG); Chief Marcus Jones of the Montgomery County Police Department; Chief Toni Dezomits of the Cary, North Carolina, Police Department; and Sheriff Dusty Rhoades of the Williamson County, Tennessee, Sheriff’s Office.
According to his plea agreement, from at least June 2018 to January 2021, Gindac conspired with six co-conspirators and others to steal and negotiate checks from the U.S. mail intended for religious institutions. Gindac’s co-conspirators executed the thefts by driving to roadside mailboxes and directly removing the mail from the religious institutions’ mailboxes.
As part of the scheme to defraud, Gindac and other co-conspirators opened fraudulent bank accounts at several victim financial institutions under false identities and negotiated stolen checks by way of ATMs. Gindac deposited stolen checks into fraudulent bank accounts held in the names of his family members, including a minor family member who had not yet attained 18 years of age, and others. Gindac and his co-conspirators subsequently withdrew the stolen funds and spent them using debit cards associated with fraudulently opened bank accounts and other bank accounts.
As detailed in his plea agreement, Gindac deposited or was present for the depositing of at least $64,811.03 into 13 fraudulent accounts. The accounts that Gindac deposited into received at least approximately $139,057.58 from 143 stolen checks.
On February 6, 2021, law enforcement arrested Gindac and recovered approximately $7,930.38 in U.S. currency as well as a yellow-gold and diamond-encrusted Rolex gentleman’s watch. Over the course of the conspiracy, Gindac used stolen proceeds to purchase a BMW 745i Sport sedan.
In total, the conspiracy received at least approximately $1,065,282.53 from 2,477 stolen checks.
Co-defendant Daniel Velcu, age 43, of Baltimore, Maryland, is scheduled for a guilty plea on July 2, 2021 at 9 a.m.
Gindac faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud. U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang has scheduled sentencing for August 31, 2021 at 2 p.m.
Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, HSI, the FDIC Office of Inspector General, the Montgomery County Police Department, the Cary (North Carolina) Police Department, and the Williamson County (Tennessee) Sheriff’s Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Wright, who is prosecuting the case.
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