ICE seeks public's help in locating badge counterfeiter believed to be in Germany
In July 2013, a man was watching a movie at a theatre in Michigan, wearing body armor and carrying a firearm. When approached by police, he presented a counterfeit Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) badge and credentials.
In January 2014, a man attempted to gain access to the secure area of Reagan National Airport using a counterfeit CIA badge, but was prevented from doing so after Transportation Security Administration officers noticed inconsistencies with the man’s statements and credentials.
In August 2015, a man was indicted for impersonating a federal law enforcement agent. He used a counterfeit Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) badge and credentials to enter the Naval Nuclear Training Command in South Carolina while armed with a Sig Sauer pistol.
All three of these situations have one thing in common; the badges and credentials originated from a German-based company called Master Equipment.
Master Equipment is operated by 34-year-old Roberto Craciunica, a Romanian man believed to be residing in Germany. Craciunica was indicted in October 2015 in the Eastern District of Virginia for a variety of charges related to manufacturing and distributing counterfeit badges, including trafficking in counterfeit goods; smuggling; and possession, sale or transportation of false seals. Interpol has also issued a Red Notice for Craciunica’s arrest.
From January 2010 to September 2015, Craciunica’s company, Master Equipment, manufactured and distributed counterfeit U.S. law enforcement badges from HSI, the CIA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation without authorization. Craciunica sold these badges through websites like www.badge-police.com and www.master-equipment.org. Craciunica and his co-conspirators instructed buyers to pay for the counterfeit badges by sending funds through Western Union and Paypal. They then shipped the counterfeit badges from Kaarst, Germany, to buyers in the United States. Individuals utilized the badges and credentials to impersonate federal agents and officers of the U.S. government, and in some situations, attempted to gain access to restricted areas.
As part of this investigation, HSI Washington, D.C., special agents seized counterfeit badges and seals purchased from Web domains operated by Master Equipment and Craciunica.
The Washington Metropolitan Airport Authority, the U.S. Marshals Service for the Eastern District of Virginia and the U.S. Marshals Service Headquarters Tactical Operations Division assisted with the investigation.
HSI reminds individuals that it is illegal to purchase and display law enforcement badges and credentials. If you have information on Craciunica’s whereabouts, please contact U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or www.ICE.gov/tips.