Violin Playing Beggar Arrested For Fraud
No, He Doesn’t Have A Sick Child. The Violin Beggar Is A Fake Who Raked In Over $100k.
ROYAL PALM BEACH, FL – Boca Post (BocaPost.com) — A man who would play the violin and harass customers for money has been arrested on many charges including an organized scheme to defraud after he collected over $100k from individuals who thought they were helping his sick children.
Many concerned citizens contacted PBSO when they suspected something was suspicious about 20-year-old Giovani Radu who was asking for money in the TJ Maxx plaza at 250 S. SR-7 in Royal Palm Beach on Friday, December 23rd, 2022. When Radu saw multiple PBSO-marked units responding to the area, he quickly jumped into his Ford Explorer SUV and fled the area. Deputies then got behind Radu and pulled him over for having an expired plate as well as to investigate the original complaint.
Radu identified himself verbally to the deputy as “Johnny Violeta”.
Radu told deputies that he is from Romania and is visiting the area with his wife. He was playing the violin in the parking lot and asking for money. He didn’t know his license plate was expired. He said he only makes about $20 a day from playing which is barely enough for him and his wife to eat. He does not have any children whatsoever and was only telling people that he had sick kids so people would give him money.
One of the deputies says that he saw a large amount of cash on the passenger seat as well as a lunchbox filled with cash. Radu says that he just found the fash and that it was not his. Radu claimed that the only money he received from playing the violin was a $10 bill that he had in his wallet.
Also laying on the rear passenger seat, in plain view, was a sign that requested financial donations due to having a small child that needed help. The sign also had Venmo and CashApp accounts listed as “Johnny-Violin” and “JohnViolin”. Radu admitted that he wrote the sign, indicating that he had sick children, knowing that people would give him more money, even though he doesn’t have any kids at all. Radu indicated that he knew it was wrong and he was lying to people to get them to donate money to him.
A search of Radu, incident to arrest, revealed a large metal shiv/shank (a fixed-blade sharp object that can be used for stabbing) with an approximately 4-5” long blade, in his right front pants pocket. It should be noted that Radu does not have a concealed weapons license
Upon conducting the searching Radu’s vehicle, the following items were located:
- Eight (8) cardboard signs with varying messages, including several indicating that he had children and needed financial help for these children.
- A large number of expensive luxury goods, such as Armani, Gucci, Prada, and Calvin Klein Clothing/Shoes/Belts.
- $753 in cash, including 263 $1 bills, 8 $20 bills, 14 $10 bills, 38 $5 bills in an Igloo brand lunchbox and on the front passenger seat as well as miscellaneous change.
- Two (2) “international driving permits” were issued in the names of “Romeo Radu” and “Violgta Tanase”.
- Three (3) Italian ID Cards in the name of “Giovani Radu”.
- A large number of financial institution documents, including bank receipts for deposits, transfers, and balances indicate a total of $79,210.70 in cash deposits over the last (1) year.
- Numerous blank starter checks from Bank of America.
- Receipts for various goods, including luxury clothing items.
- Receipts for various money orders.
- Miscellaneous documents including traffic citations, parking citations, hotel invoices, letters of correspondence, motor vehicle maintenance records, etc., which were all issued from various states and cities throughout the United States.
- Two (2) Massachusetts license plates “1 VD-R92”, which are registered to an “Albert Tanase — 10/26/1992” and belong to a 2005 Toyota Sienna.
- A blue HP Laptop.
- Five (5) credit/debit cards in the name of “Giovani Radu
Radu stated that he makes around $100,000 a year or more soliciting donations using his methods. Department of Homeland Security Immigrations and Customs Enforcement as well as the Internal Revenue Service were contacted and provided with the applicable information for their parallel federal investigations of the suspect.
Radu is facing the following charges, according to the arresting deputy:
- Organized Scheme to Defraud (Over $50,000) — by engaging in a systematic ongoing course of conduct with intent to defraud or obtain property from one or more individuals using fraudulent pretenses(soliciting charitable donations for a sick child/children, where he has no children and uses the money to buy luxury goods), with a total aggregate amount of approximately $80,000 over the last one (1) year, contrary to FSS 817.034(4)(a)(1)
- Failure to Register as Charitable Organization — by soliciting contributions for children, whereas he has no children and received and used the money for personal gain (purchasing luxury goods), while never registering as a charitable organization contrary to FSS 496.405
- Failure to Disclose Information for Charity — by failing to fulfill the requirements of chapter 496 regarding providing necessary disclosures for the attempt to solicit charitable donations, by fraudulently under the guise of providing assistance to children, soliciting money and donations from individuals, contrary to F$S 496.411
- Misrepresentation for Solicitation of Charity — by knowingly and willfully falsely representing charitable donations for one or more children, who do not exist, by which he misappropriated the funds received for personal gain (purchase of luxury goods), contrary to FSS 496.415(7)
- Soliciting Charitable Donation under False Pretenses — by knowingly and willfully holding up a sign requesting charitable donations for one or more children that required help, and by verbally stating that said children were sick and in need of medical services and food, and representing that such charitable donations would be used for such, to which all proceeds obtained were instead used for personal gain and never distributed as such, contrary to FSS 496.415(13)
- Providing False Name to Law Enforcement — by knowingly and willfully providing the false name of “Johnny Violeta” during a traffic stop, with the intention of preventing identification and thus hindering/obstructing/delaying the investigation, contrary to FSS 901.36(1)
- Carrying a Concealed Weapon during a Felony — by carrying, on or about his person,in his nght front pants pocket, a metal shiv (4-5” fixed blade stabbing object), without a concealed weapons license, while committing the aforementioned crimes, contrary to FSS 790.070
- Battery LEO — by knowingly and willfully spitting saliva and mucus on the left side of my face, while I was in full PBSO patrol uniform and conducting an official criminal investigation, contrary to FSS 784,07(2)(b)
Court records indicate that Radu posted a $60,000 bond and is ordered to return to court next year.