MARTINEZ, Calif. (KRON) — Two individuals have been charged with multiple felonies and misdemeanors relating to a sophisticated financial scheme targeting people on public assistance, the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office said. The two men, who have no known connection to the Bay Area, were arrested in Hercules on Dec. 1, according to a CoCo County DA’s press release.
Florin Tanasa, 27, and Adam Nilsson, 30, will each face seven counts including second-degree commercial burglary, grand theft, theft, forgery and conspiracy. The duo also faces misdemeanor charges of possession and/or using a fraudulent scanning device.
The suspects were arrested when police were called to a Bank of America branch on Sycamore Avenue in Hercules after being alerted by bank officials to consecutive cash withdrawals from EBT cards at the bank’s ATM. Upon searching their vehicle, officers found 50 fraudulently cloned EBT cards, credit card skimming equipment and thousands in cash.
Tanasa and Nilsson were arraigned Tuesday in Martinez and pleaded not guilty. The two men are under investigation for similar crimes in the City of Belmont and Santa Barbara County.
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The men were described as flight risks by Deputy DA Dana Filkowski and declared threats to public safety. Hercules police established probable cause that funds the defendants used to post bail would likely come from criminal activity. Bail for each man was set at $1 million.
“Nilsson and Tanasa are mobile perpetrators who have preyed upon California’s most vulnerable residents,” Filkowski said. “Their financial crimes have bilked individuals and families of assistance they need for support. Had they been released on bail, they would have likely continued their criminal enterprise of defrauding those in need.”