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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags cybercrimeinternetlegale-commerceebayU.S. Department of Justice

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

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

This Holiday Season, protect yourself and your loved ones with the best. Buy now for Holiday Savings!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?