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Ky. Online-Fraud Investigation Leads To International Bust

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Posted at 3:55 PM, Feb 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-07 15:59:17-05

WASHINGTON D.C. (LE X 18) –  The Secret Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office have both confirmed that an international scam ring bust, first investigated by law enforcement in Kentucky, has resulted in multiple arrests.

The U.S. Secret Service says that 20 people, including 16 foreign nationals, were indicted for their involvement in an online auction fraud scheme designed to defraud users looking to purchase merchandise via the internet and websites such as eBay and Craigslist.

Authorities say an organized foreign fraud ring stole millions of dollars from unsuspecting victims across the country.

Using online auction and trade sites, officials say that the fraudsters posted false advertisements for merchandise that does not exist. Then, using a multitude of convincing methods, these cyber-criminals persuade victims to send money for the non-existent goods.

The case was brought to the attention of the Feds by Lexington Police and Kentucky State Police.

“The announcement today is the culmination of several years of intense investigative work, it was truly a team
effort,” said Special Agent in Charge Richard Ferretti – Secret Service Louisville Field Office. “I would like
to thank the Lexington Police Department and the Kentucky State Police, our strong partnership was crucial
to this investigation. I am also very proud of the men and women of the Lexington and Louisville Secret
Service offices. The relentless pursuit of this organized crime ring is a testament to their hard work and
determination.”

On July 5, 2018,  a federal grand jury in Lexington, Kentucky returned a 24-count indictment charging 15
foreign nationals with RICO conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, and aggravated
identity theft.

Those charged include Andrei-Cătălin Stoica, 28, of Romania; Victor-Aurel Grama, 29, of Romania; Liviu-Sorin Nedelcu, 33, of Romania; Ionuţ Ciobanu, 28, of Romania; Marius-Dorin Cernat, 35, of Romania; Alexandru Ion, 30, of Romania; Ştefan-Alexandru Păiuşi, 33, of Romania; Eugen-Alin Badea, 34, of Romania; Cristişor Olteanu, 31, of Romania; Adrian Mitan, 34, of Romania; Bogdan-Ştefan Popescu, 29, of Romania; Florin Arvat, 24, of Romania; Alin-Ionuţ Dobrică, 26, of Romania; Vlad-Călin Nistor, 31, of Romania, and Rossen Iossifov, 51, of Bulgaria. On Feb. 6, a federal grand jury in Lexington returned an 11- count indictment charging an additional foreign national and four Americans for their roles in the criminal enterprise. Those charged include Beniamin-Filip Ologeanu, 29 of Alexandria, Romania; Austin Edward Nedved, 27, of Northborough, Massachusetts; Dimitrious Antoine Brown, 37, of Macon, Georgia and Rashawd Lamar Tulloch, 30, of Newnan, Georgia. Andrew Gilbert Ybarra II, 25, of Patterson, California, was also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering.

A total of 15 Romanian nationals and one Bulgarian national were charged in these two indictments. Of these, 12 have been extradited to the United States and are awaiting trials, which are currently set for June 18, 2019, and Aug. 7, 2019.