The U.S. Attorney said Wednesday it clamped down on an international cyber crime ring responsible for pilfering millions of dollars from consumers on U.S.-based Internet marketplace Web sites.
In cooperation with international law enforcement agencies, seven defendants were taken into custody in Romania, the Czech Republic, the U.K. and Canada, after officials got wind of the scheme that included saturating Internet sites such as eBay, Autotrader.com and Cycletrader.com with fake listings for merchandise.
On those sites, the defendants Emil Butoi, Aurel Cojocaru, Nicolae Ghebosila, Cristea Mircea, Ion Pieptea and Nicolae Simion posted detailed advertisements for Audemars Piguet and Cartier watches, cars, motorcycles, boats and other highly valued goods generally priced in the $10,000 to $45,000 range.
Unbeknownst to the buyers, the merchandise did not exist. The so-called sellers, who worked in collusion with the defendants, corresponded with the buyers via e-mail, sending fake certificates of title and other information designed to lure victims into making a purchase.
As alleged in the complaint, which was filed in the Eastern District of New York, after the fake sellers reached an agreement with the buyers, they would often e-mail them fraudulent invoices purporting to be from online payment services such as Amazon Payments or PayPal. It’s estimated that the defendants earned more than $3 million from the scheme.
Each defendant is charged with wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. If convicted, they will face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each count.
“As alleged, the defendants ran a sophisticated fraud scheme that used the Internet to reach across the globe and into the homes of unsuspecting Americans. They utilized high-tech counterfeiting techniques to create an aura of online legitimacy,” said U.S. attorney Loretta Lynch. “This virtual con game nevertheless cost Americans real money. Thanks to our international partnerships, even the most sophisticated and tech-savvy criminal organizations are not beyond the reach of law enforcement. No matter how complex the scheme, we will spare no effort in protecting American consumers from fraud on the Internet.”
@deciem is all about transparency and approachability. At this year’s WWD Digital Beauty Forum, the brand's co-CEO @nicolakilner said talking to customers directly about the ingredients in products and how they work is key. #wwdsummits #wwdbeauty
‘We didn't know how relevant our film would be when we were making it. When Steven [Rogers] wrote the script Trump wasn't president, class divide in America wasn't as evident as it is now, though it was present. The Time’s Up movement hadn't began and the way we look at women and treat women who speak out — thankfully that is something that seems to have shifted in the last year. I think we just need to continue making art that provokes the conversation and do what we can,’ said ‘I, Tonya’ actress @margotrobbie. Head to WWD.com to see all the celebrities who walked the red carpet @bafta #timesup #wwdeye (📸: Neil Hall)
Gemma Arterton is joined on the @bafta’s red carpet by Eileen Pullen and Gwen Davis, the two women who started the fight for the pay-gap. ‘They represent a normal person speaking out for what is right. Speak out, we will listen and anyone can speak out,’ said Arterton. #eebaftas #timesup #wwdeye (📸: David Fisher)
On the list of emerging designers to watch at London Fashion Week is @nabilnayal. The Syrian-Born and raised designer – who is known for his sculptural and dramatic designs with an Elizabethan era aesthetic – said he designs for a woman who is not afraid to challenge conventions. To see which other up-and-coming talents are joining the schedule this season, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion #lfw (📷: @gomezdevillaboa)