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Possible scammers use tragedies to pull heartstrings

Julie Reeder and Tony Campbell, AC Investigations

Last week there was a group of people, who appeared to be family, soliciting donations in the intersection of South Mission and Ammunition roads. The solicitors were on the sidewalks, in the crosswalks and going in between lanes, pulling heartstrings and collecting money from motorists. Village News spoke with two of the solicitors. One young woman said the money was for her 7-year-old niece who is still in the hospital with brain cancer.

The signs this time said they were raising money for the 7-year-old's medical expenses.

Two weeks ago, people were soliciting for the funeral expenses for a 6-year-old who some confused with the 4-year-old who died on the freeway a few days beforehand along with her mother from the suspected DUI driver that hit them head on. This seems to be a different group.

In January 2023, there were solicitors in Fallbrook to raise money for an 8-year-old boy that the sign claimed was diagnosed with "Acute Leukemia Lymphoblastic." While the claims of sick or dead children vary, the signs look the same as the signs last week and often have the same cash app on them, which link to a Mr. Viorel Muresanu, apparently a current resident of Anaheim, California.

This type of soliciting happens every three or four months in Fallbrook. The causes are typically for a child who is sick or has just passed away from a car accident or disease. This is a practice that is typical with gypsies, who are many times Romanian.

The van that this family travels in is registered to Muresanu, age 47, who apparently was also the driver. Village News couldn't positively identify any more of the solicitors or verify or disprove the cause, although it is highly suspect that one family could have that many tragedies.

Are they scamming people? Here's what we know. The owner of the van is a 47-year-old man who has a home address in Anaheim, California. He also has 32 traffic violations in the last couple of years in various towns. He also has a petty misdemeanor offense from Apple Valley, California for "Soliciting donations in a congested area prohibited." The Apple Valley § 114.08.B PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES are described as "No peddler, solicitor or transient merchant shall conduct business in any of the following manners:

(B) Obstructing the free flow of either vehicular or pedestrian traffic on any street, alley, sidewalk or other public right-of-way."

It appears he may also be the same person who was charged with 647 C, disorderly conduct, accosting another person in public or any place open to the public for the purpose of begging or soliciting alms in February 2022 in another city.

Fallbrook Sheriff's Lt. Claudia Delgado encouraged people to call the Sheriff when they see this panhandling in town. She said it may seem like a small thing but if a call for service is generated, they can investigate the situation.

So, if the criminal records and the 32 parking violations are accurate, it's not only Fallbrook where they are soliciting. Viorel Muresanu is a Romanian name and it is the practice of some Romanian, Romani, or Roma families, to live the gypsy lifestyle, according to retired Sheriff Leslie Albrecht, and they travel around from town to town, soliciting for various reasons.

This would explain why we see them every three or four months. According to Albrecht, who talked to Channel 10 after studying gypsies for nine years, she said they typically use their children to help panhandle and the children don't typically go to school because they are expected to learn the family "business." She was careful to say that most Romanian families who migrate here are law abiding citizens and are not panhandlers or "gypsies."

According to the records available to Village News, Viorel Muresanu has been in the US since 2016, but we couldn't find any legitimate work or employment history ever in the United States. Maybe because this is his business.


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