2 Romanians accused of online auction scam | News, Sports, Jobs
Two Romanian nationals are indicted in an unsealed 12-count indictment in Akron U.S. District Court over alleged roles in an international criminal ring involving an online auction fraud scheme targeting the northern Ohio and other parts of the United States.
Costel Alecu, 37, from Bucharest, Romania, and Madalin Ghinea, 34, from Alexandria, Romania, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, eight counts of wire fraud, of a conspiracy to traffic counterfeit service marks. , one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of aggravated identity theft.
Alecu and Ghinea were arrested in March in Romania. The Mahoning County Jail website shows that they were placed in the local dungeon in the custody of the US Marshals Service on Monday. The arrests were announced Tuesday in a press release by acting U.S. lawyer Bridget Brennan.
The indictment alleges that from July 2008 to August 2020, Alecu, Ghinea and others devised a scheme to trick Americans into purchasing items online, including vehicles and other high-value items, that did not exist. The ploy was to obtain the personally identifying information of potential buyers. As a result, the victims suffered a combined loss of approximately US $ 9 million.
To carry out their scheme, Alecu and other members of the conspiracy set up accounts on various auction websites to post advertisements for goods that did not exist. In some cases, Alecu and others have reportedly used counterfeit trademarks and other fraudulent designs and emails in their communications to convince potential victims that the ads were genuine.
The indictment indicates that around August 2014, Alecu and Ghinea used the information obtained in their scheme. Alecu and others allegedly used a network of money launderers and mules to steal money and transfer funds overseas. Further, the indictment alleges that Alecu and other members of the group used the personal identification data of the victims’ credit cards and bank accounts to launder money and finance the illegal operation. .