U.S. History Records Largest Fraud via ‘eBay’

U.S. federal court has charged 21 people for running a fraud and profiting $5 million from users of Internet auction sites, including the most popular eBay Inc.

On December 14, 2006, a federal court charged 21 defendants for committing one of the largest Internet frauds in U.S. history. The defendants were accused of participating in an international fraud scam in which they befooled customers into purchasing goods listed for sale online, typically using auction site, eBay. But the customers never received the items they paid for.

Eight defendants were arrested on December 12, 2006, of whom seven appeared before 'U.S. Magistrate Judge' Maria Valdez in Chicago. The judge delayed the defendants by three days for any bail request. No one made a plea. A ninth defendant acquiesced to surrender, prosecutors said.

This case demonstrates the use of new technology to launch an old-fashioned fraud plan, said Mr. Fitzgerald, Attorney, Northern District of Illinois, United States.. He added there is no escape for criminals who use the Internet to facilitate and cover online crime because law enforcement is becoming tougher in investigating criminal activities in cyberspace.

According to Fitzgerald, the gang swindled more than 2,000 Internet users since November 2003 and some of them may be based in Romania. Internet auction sites like eBay and others facilitate sale of new and used goods to the maximum bidder within time-bound auctions with probable purchasers able to view how much their competitors are offering.

Under this particular fraud scheme, the unsuccessful bidders received misleading indications that they were getting a 'second chance' to buy items. They, therefore, followed the instructions over the Net to dispatch money through 'Western Union' so that the seller or the seller's agent could collect it generally in Chicago region.

The spoof Internet solicitations allegedly originated from U.S. About 50 to 70% of the proceedings were transmitted to anonymous co-schemers located outside the U.S., mostly in Romania, according to the criminal affidavit.

The affidavit also notes that a number of 'alias identification documents' were captured during a search in March 2006 conducted at defendant Adrina Florin Fechete's residence. Fechete, also known as 'Ade', 35, was living in Chicago.

Related article: U.S. Businesses Lose $712 Per Worker Due to Spam

» SPAMfighter News - 20-12-2006

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