A Romanian citizen without a criminal record does not unusually risk time in jail when caught stealing. Except the case when he annoys the judges, Nord Eclaire website reads. The website comments the trial of a Romanian citizen caught paying with a false card for an expensive perfume.
25-year old Virgil Barbu was caught on June 1, in the Lafayette Galleries' scent department in Lille, when he was trying to pay for a 90 euro "eau de toilette", when the card was rejected.
The shop assistants informed the police. The authorities discovered the young man had three cards on him, all issued for Virgil Barbu. The bank cards were Carte Bleu, a debit card that works like a credit card, allowing transactions without authorisation from the bank.
Following investigations, it was proven that all cards were false. Virgil Barbu claimed, as translated by an interpreter, that he received the cards from a person who he did not know too well. "He told me I will have no problems with them", the accused tried to blame his pal.
"And you did not know that, by using this cards, another person will eventually pay for you?", the prosecutor asked. At this point, the uninspired young man blamed the poverty in Romania: "I earn 200 euros per month".
"You say you are poor, that you arrived here at the end of May and you buy a 90-euros perfume. It is a dire need when you are poor", judge Bernard Lemaire said.
Virgil Barbu then admitted that he was paid 50 euros per day to buy as many products as possible with false cards, which he later gave back to a crime gang. He claimed he did not know the members of the gang and that was the first time he was trying to steal.
But the magistrates learnt that the four cards found on the Romanian citizens had already been used in The Netherlands and in Thailand. "This kind of crook relies on the French justice and hopes he will immediately be released, while their crimes are elaborated and extremely technical. Not everyone can make false cards", the prosecutor accused.
Virgil Barbu was condemned to six months in jail.