(NEW YORK) — Law enforcement officials abroad came together Wednesday to take down an international fraud ring that targeted American Internet shoppers. The scheme involved eBay, Cars.com and other similar marketplace websites.
Federal prosecutors in the U.S. say seven defendants, identified as Emil Butoi, Aurel Cojocaru, Nicolae Ghebosila, Cristea Mircea, Ion Pieptea, and Nicolae Simion — all Romanian nationals — and Fabian Meme — an Albanian national — who are now in custody in Romania, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom and Canada, saturated the sites with ads for luxury cars, boats and other big ticket items. Those items never existed but prosecutors say the defendants duped unsuspecting victims into buying them, sometimes using fake certificates of title, fictitious websites and phony passports.
The fraud cost millions but has now been dismantled.
The U.S. government will seek extradition of the defendants in accordance with the appropriate international treaties.
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Rob McLean and Joshua Berlinger, CNN