Ex-Romanian official pleads guilty to US credit card thefts

December 12, 2018 - 3:12 pm

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A former Romanian official has been sentenced in Buffalo for breaking into gym lockers to steal credit cards and purchasing nearly $100,000 in high-end electronic devices.

The Erie County District Attorney's Office says 51-year-old George Piha (PEE'-uh), a former deputy mayor in Romania who lived in Queens, was sentenced Tuesday to 2 to 6 years in prison.

Prosecutors say Piha admitted to making the thefts from fitness centers in the Buffalo area between February and July. Authorities say he broke into lockers and stole credit cards he used to make more than $95,000 in purchases that he sold for cash to support his opioid habit.

Piha pleaded guilty in October to identity theft and burglary charges.

He faces similar charges involving gym break-ins other sections of upstate New York, including the Albany area.

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