In one of the largest international cybercrime enforcement actions in history, the FBI and the Romanian DIICOT (Directorate for Investigating Infractions of Organized Crime and Terrorism) have performed at least 117 searches and arrested 21 in America and more than 90 in Romania.
All across Romania, scenes such as this were being conducted:
The Romanian news source that provided the photos above shared this quote with Adrian Hood, Chief Prosecutor of DIICOT, Craiova Territorial Service:
"Specifically, defendants are charged for activities from 2009 to 2011 involving posting notices of sale of fictitious, non-existent goods such as cars, motorcycles, boats, and electronics on e-commerce platforms such as www.eBay.com and www.craigslist.org through advertisements made with false information."
(See the Original story for the Romanian original of that quote...
The FBI has issued a press release on the matter today, Organized Romanian Criminal Groups Targeted by DOJ and Romanian Law Enforcement.
The case centers on criminals in Romania who would post luxury items and vehicles for sale on Internet auction websites, such as eBay. They would then instruct the potential buyer that for safety of the transaction they would be using an escrow service and provide them instructions to wire the funds to the escrow service, rather than making their payment through the auction company. US-based co-conspirators would then go pick up the money from American bank accounts. These intermediaries are called "money mules" in the US, but in Romanian cybercrime parlance they are referred to as "arrows."
According to the FBI Press Release . . . "Since May 2010, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida have arrested and prosecuted numerous individuals from Romania, Moldova and the United States allegedly involved in this fraud scheme. Vadim Gherghelejiu, 29, of Moldova; Anatolie Bisericanu, 25, of Moldova; Jairo Osorno, 22, of Surfside, Fla.; Jason Eibinder, 22, of Sunny Isles Beach, Fla.; and Ciprian Jdera, 25, of Romania, have been convicted in the Southern District of Florida of conspiracy to commit wire fraud."
On February 22, 2010, a Miami court returned an indictment against "Pedro Pulido, 41, of Pembroke Pines, Fla.; Ivan Boris Barkovic, 19, of Sunny Isles Beach; Beand Dorsainville, 20, of North Miami Beach, Fla.; Sergiu Petrov, aka “Serogia,” 27, of Moldova; Oleg Virlan, 32, of Moldova; Marian Cristea, 22, of Romania; and Andrian Olarita, 26, of Moldova, with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and substantive counts of wire fraud. Pulido, Barkovic, Dorsainville and Olarita have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Petrov, Virlan and Cristea remain at large and are considered fugitives."
Romanian news is buzzing today with news of many search warrants being issued all over Romania.
FBI Searches Romania - 20 million dollars stolen by hackers in eight countries
Photographers were present at many of today's Romanian arrests . . .
Here a dentist, Horace Balanescu, and his wife are being arrested in Bumbesti-Jiu Romania:
(photos from "adevarul.ro")
Romanian news says that there were more than 1,000 victims who collectively lost more than $20 million USD.
We'll have more details here in the near future . . .
Congratulations to all of the fine agents in Romania and the FBI who took part in this historical arrest, and to those at eBay and Craigslist and other companies who assisted with information.