June 27, 2016

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Forger caught in Medina faces federal charges in Pa.

A Romanian man who was convicted of forgery in Medina last year now faces a wire fraud charge in federal court.

Marian Potcovaru, 29, is scheduled to appear Feb. 2 in federal court in Pittsburgh on a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.



Federal documents show Medina County sheriff’s deputies, the Medina County Drug Task Force and Immigration and Customs Enforcement went to Motel 6, 3122 Eastpointe Drive in Medina Township, on Dec. 30, 2009, on a report about a man who did not resemble the photograph on the passport presented to the motel manager.

Potcovaru, who was in a room at the motel, told authorities someone in Michigan recruited him to pick up money wired by people who thought they were making legitimate purchases, according to federal documents.

He said he would pick up the money using a fake passport at transferring locations.

He was told to keep 15 percent of the money and send the rest to unknown people in Romania, the documents show.

According to information provided by the FBI, 54 wire transfers were picked up in Pennsylvania and Ohio between Dec. 1 and 26, 2009, with Potcovaru’s passport number. The transfers amounted to $144,189.42.

He reportedly told authorities he was scheduled to pick up $2,700 via MoneyGram at Giant Eagle in Medina from a Tennessee man who thought he was buying a motorcycle.

Potcovaru also allegedly showed officers how he would change the name on his French passport using rub-on transfer sheets and an ink pen to trace letters.

Sheriff’s deputies charged Potcovaru with forgery.

He later pleaded no contest in common pleas court and was sentenced to six months in the Medina County Jail.

Federal court records show he was arrested by FBI agents June 25, the day he was released from jail.

He was free on $20,000 bond shortly thereafter.

Potcovaru’s lawyer, Patrick Nightingale, said his client is staying in the Pittsburgh area.

Contact Maria Kacik Kula at (330) 721-4049 or mkacik@medina-gazette.com.