Men Charged in Mahoning County Jail’s $ 9 Million International Auction Fraud Case
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Two men accused of an international fraud scheme are being held in Mahoning County Jail.
Costel Alecu, 37, from Bucharest, Romania, and Madalin Ghinea, 34, from Alexandria, Romania, face multiple charges over an online auction system aimed at selling items that never existed in the purpose of obtaining personal information from their victims.
Many of the transactions involved people in northeastern Ohio.
The indictment alleges that from July 2008 to August 2020, Alecu, Ghinea and other unknown actors devised a scheme to entice victims in the United States and elsewhere to purchase items online, including vehicles and other high value items that did not exist. and obtain the personal identification information of their victims. As a result, the victims suffered a combined loss of approximately $ 9 million.
In some cases, Alecu and others have allegedly created and used fictitious websites, email addresses and other forms of communication containing information about counterfeit brands designed to convince their victims that the ads were genuine, according to the authors. prosecutors.
Money launderers and “money mules” were used to cover up their scheme and transfer money, foreign prosecutors said.
This matter was investigated by the Cleveland FBI with the assistance of the Romanian authorities.