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.”
A new Joan Rivers coffee table book, titled “Joan Rivers Confidential,” gives readers never-before-seen photos and letters of the late comedian throughout her life. “Because of her drive to always be fresh, she kept records of every appearance, every performance, all the jokes that were used on TV, all the clothes that were worn,” said Rivers’ daughter Melissa. Here, Rivers poses at the “Tonight Show” in Tracy Mills in 1985. Read more about the book and see more photos at WWD.com. #wwdeye
After a career at New York hot spots like Narcissa, Dovetail and Nix, @chefjfraser has expanded to the West Village with The Loyal, a modernized take on an American brasserie. “And as I’ve gone through my career I’ve felt some departure from that kind of simple, straightforward [cooking]. This is meant to take on the idea of ‘what if the American brasserie was invented today?’” #wwdeye (📷: @chinseephoto)
@bellahadid and @lilyaldridge at @bulgariofficial’s celebration on Friday night, toasting the brand's new Peter Marino-designed flagship on Fifth Avenue. The two-part event included a cocktail party at the store followed by a dinner at a mystery location — the Met Cloisters. #wwdeye
From overseeing America’s fastest-growing speciality retailers to codifying cool, WWD talked to the women who are leading the way for the future of beauty. Check out our Instagram Stories to see how these women built today and are creating tomorrow. (📸: @hannah_khymych) #wwdbeauty
For @laperlalingerie's spring 2018 show, the brand chose to host their event at @thevenetianmacao. With Chinese megastars @bingbing_fan and @hubing in attendance, La Perla debuted a rock ‘n’ roll-inspired collection. The show marked the start of Sands Macao Fashion Week, which runs from October 19 to 24 — the city’s first such event. Pictured here are models backstage with glimmering eyes. #wwdfashion (📷: Cheuk-Yin To)
Trending for spring 2018: top stitch design. Gone are the days of stitch just for seams — designers are using the once-minimal detail to create strong decorative elements. (📷: Paola Testa; Styled by @andrew_shang) #wwdfashion
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews