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Former professional footballer jailed for using cloned payment cards to buy runners and toiletries

Stefan Condurovici has been ordered to leave Ireland within seven days of his release from prison.

File photo of a cash register
File photo of a cash register
Image: Shutterstock/Pandit Chanthong

A FORMER PROFESSIONAL footballer who used cloned payment cards to buy himself a pair of runners and some toiletries has been jailed for five months.

Stefan Condurovici (32), of no fixed abode in the UK, had only been in Ireland for a day when he was caught by gardaí in Dublin earlier this year in possession of six cloned payment cards.

He was arrested along with three others after gardaí became suspicious of some people who had been trying to buy jewellery in Dundrum Town Centre in Dublin.

Condurovici, a former professional footballer in Romania, pleaded guilty to six counts of possessing cloned payment cards in Dom Marmion car park on the Sandyford Road in Dublin on 25 June last.

Passing sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today, Judge Melanie Greally described this type of criminal activity as a “scourge” that must be taken very seriously by the courts.

However, she said Condurovici had made “relatively modest purchases” amounting to around €200 and had cooperated fully with gardaí, making very early pleas in the District Court.

She sentenced Condurovici to 18 months in prison with the final 13 months suspended, backdated to 25 June, when he went into custody.

Leave Ireland 

The judge also ordered Condurovici to leave Ireland within seven days of his release from prison and not to return for 10 years.

The judge gave Condurovici credit for his lack of previous convictions and his “impressive record” in the sporting arena, having trained as a PE teacher and played professional football in a League 2 team in Romania.

Garda Karl O’Neill told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that security at Dundrum Town Centre became suspicious when a man and woman tried to buy jewellery at Fields on the day in question.

The pair, who are co-accused in the case, wanted to process the payment card themselves but were not allowed to by staff at the jewellery shop.

Gardaí followed them to a car park across the road where they got into a car joining two others, one of whom was Condurovici.

Vanilla cards 

Condurovici was arrested and made full admissions, producing his Romanian ID card and six Vanilla gift cards from the UK. The court heard that Vanilla is a UK gift card scheme similar to the One-For-All card in Ireland.

Condurovici had six cards on which financial details from other debit and credit cards had been embedded onto the magnetic strip. In total, the four accused people were found in possession of 52 cloned cards.

He told gardaí he had used the cards to buy a pair of runners for €120 and a few toiletries from Boots including shower gel and other cleaning products costing around €46.

Garda O’Neill agreed with John Moher BL, defending, that Condurovici was “at the lower end of the pecking order” among the four people arrested that day.

Moher said his client had arrived in Ireland the day before, after having spent several months working on a building site in the UK.

Previously, Condurovici had been a professional League 2 footballer in Romania and had coached junior teams. He also worked in construction in Greece and on his family farm in Romania.

The court heard that Condurovici’s father had a suspected stroke after his son went into custody and that Condurovici hoped to return to Romania as soon as possible. Judge Greally noted that although gardaí have been unable to identify the bank accounts used for the cloned cards, someone remained at a loss for about €200.

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Jessica Magee

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