Romania: Cybercrime Gang Members Indicted
US prosecutors have unsealed charges against suspected members of a Romanian-based transnational organized crime syndicate.
In a US Department of Justice press release, Loretta Lynch has said that Interpol and the FBI have alerted foreign law enforcement agencies to look out for Nicolae Popescu and six of his associates, who they say have scammed consumers. Lynch said the gang has used websites such eBay, Cars.com, and AutoTrader.com to acquire sensitive financial information from consumers looking to purchase their non-existent goods.
Voice of America reports that FBI Assistant Director George Venizelos identified the crime group as “masters of illusion” who “siphoned funds from victims to fuel their greedy desires and created false identities, fake websites and counterfeit certificates of title in order to make the scheme more convincing.”
The FBI has placed Nicolae Popescu, who is believed to be the head of the cyber crime gang, on their Criminal Enterprise Investigations “Wanted” list for using false passports, bank accounts, and identities for wire and passport fraud, money laundering, and counterfeit activity. He is accused of posting online advisements for non-existent merchandise, and then manufacturing fraudulent invoices from well-known online payment vendors to acquire banking information from buyers.
According to Romania-Insider.com, authorities believe that the crime syndicate has claimed about 800 victims and amassed over US$3 million over its seven-year lifespan. Alleged members of the organized crime ring include Romanians Daniel Alexe, Dumitru Daniel Bosogioiu, Ovidiu Cristea, and Dragomir Razvan and one Albanian, Fabjan Meme. Additional defendants were arrested in December 2012, but Popescu, Alexe, Bosogioiu, Cristea, Razvan, and Meme remain at large. Authorities are also looking for a figure using the aliases “George Skyper” and “Tudor Barbu Lautaru.”
Romania is well known among law enforcement to be a hotspot for cybercrime.