In the 33rd Circuit Court this morning, Judge Roy C. Hayes III sentenced Mircea Mirca Barbu, 40, Sterling Heights, to two years of probation, including 12 months in jail, with two months held in abeyance, on three convictions for possessing a fraudulent transaction device, and ordered $4,692 in restitution, the majority to Boyne Mountain.
Sentences on all three convictions will run concurrently.
The incident came to light when a downstate woman received a fraud alert from her bank stating that her card was being utilized at Boyne. She not only called her bank but also called Boyne and alerted them of the incidents.
“The victim was a real hero in this case, most people would just call their bank and get the adjustment, she called Boyne, the other victim, and as a result, Mr. Barbu was caught,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said.
“Also there was tremendous police work from the beginning, with a combined effort by the Michigan State Police and Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Department. As the Judge noted, many areas don’t bother to investigate and prosecute these types of property crimes. That isn’t true of law enforcement in Charlevoix County.”
Barbu used fraudulent credit cards, printed using stolen information from customers, to go on what Judge Hayes called “a shopping spree” at Boyne Mountain and other businesses, including Otsego County as well.
In 2011, Barbu was convicted of a similar offense in Ingham County and served 11 months in jail. At the time of his arrest, Barbu had 14 fraudulent cards in his possession.
Also in Circuit Court this morning, Kevin Scott Gruszynski, 31, Gaylord, was sentenced to 12 months in jail for operating while intoxicated by a controlled substance, third offense. The sentences will run concurrently.
Gruszynski was involved in a one-car accident on Thumb Lake Road in Hudson Township in June of 2014. When police arrived they found him impaired and in possession of a controlled substance.
Caellen Leigh Charbeneau, 28, Boyne City, received six months in jail with three held in abeyance for a conviction of improperly using a financial transaction device.
According to an affidavit filed in the case, Charbeneau took and used an ATM card belonging to a woman whose woman she was residing in. She withdraw over $300.00 in one day of transactions.
William Brandon Ferris, 37, East Jordan, pleaded no contest to felony charges of malicious destruction of police property and malicious destruction of personal property greater than $1,000 in value but less than $20,000 and agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $4,962.92.
Two misdemeanor charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
According to an affidavit filed in the case, on June 17th Ferris damaged two vehicles on Third Street in East Jordan, when police arrived, he struggled with them and kicked the East Jordan Police Department patrol car, causing damage.
Ferris will be sentenced on October 16. Malicious destruction of personal property $1,000 or more but less than $20,000 in value carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Malicious destruction of police property has a maximum penalty of four years in prison.
Sentencing will occur on October 16.