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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Romanian Pyramid Arrest

BUCHAREST -- Romanian police said Thursday they had arrested the owner of a collapsed pyramid investment scheme which sucked in the savings of millions of people.


Former bookkeeper Ion Stoica was brought from the northern city of Cluj to Bucharest on Wednesday.


"Stoica is accused of crimes listed in the financial law as inexact listing of bookkeeping documents, falsifying bankruptcy, forgery and fraud," a police statement said.


If found guilty, he would face between three months and seven years in jail.


News of Stoica's arrest brought little joy from investors in his Caritas scheme who have been on hunger strike for two weeks in the Transylvanian city of Cluj, where the scheme was based.


"The hunger strikers did not give up after Stoica was arrested because that is not what they are protesting for. They want their money back," said Doctor Tiberiu Metes, general manager of the Cluj ambulance service.


Metes said 15 of the 17 hunger strikers lying on the pavement outside the old city hall in central Cluj were in a bad way. Two had been treated in hospital in the past 24 hours.


"The oldest person on hunger strike, Damina Hojbote, 78, has been there since August 18," he said by telephone from Cluj, 400 kilometers north of Bucharest.