Romanian pleads guilty to role in $2.7M eBay scam

The man was a money mule for fraudulent eBay and Craigslist car sellers

A Romanian man has pleaded guilty to participating in a well-organized scam that took in about US$2.7 million from unsuspecting users of online marketplaces such as eBay, Craigslist and AutoTrader.com.

Adrian Ghighina, 33, of Bucharest, pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy, bank fraud and money laundering charges in U.S. District Court for the District of Illinois, the Department of Justice said Thursday.

Prosecutors say Ghighina was a money mule whose job was to pick up cash wired to him by online buyers who thought they were purchasing cars, RVs, and motorcycles from legitimate sellers. He is one of 11 people charged in the scam, which dates back to November 2004.

Ghighina's crew used a variety of tricks to fool people into sending their money, typically via Western Union. They hijacked legitimate eBay accounts, sent buyers fake "second chance" offers, or pretended people's money would be held in escrow until the goods they bought were delivered.

These scams are still a big problem for online marketplaces. In fact, Craigslist advises its users to never wire money because "anyone who asks you to do so is a scammer."

The gang took money from 1,100 victims, according to court documents.

As payment, Ghighina would keep between 20 percent and 40 percent of the cash wired to him, which often totalled thousands of dollars at a time.

He is due to be sentenced on May 9 and faces 20 years in prison. Ghighina has already been given a 27-month sentence in Florida for wire and visa fraud.

Robert McMillan covers computer security and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Robert on Twitter at @bobmcmillan. Robert's e-mail address is robert_mcmillan@idg.com

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags U.S. Department of Justicee-commercesecurityebaylegalinternetcybercrime

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?