FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 21, 2013
For Information Contact:
Hungarian Woman Sentenced to One Year in Prison
For Her Role in International Internet-Based Fraud Scheme
-Defendant Was Part of a Ring That Tricked People Into Thinking They Were Buying Cars, Trucks, and Motor Homes -
WASHINGTON – Beata Edina Wagnerne Abonyi, 55, of Budapest, Hungary, has been sentenced to a year in prison on a federal charge stemming from her participation in an international Internet-based fraud scheme that obtained more than $350,000 from people who thought they were buying cars, trucks, and motor homes.
The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Niall Meehan, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office of the U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service.
Abonyi pled guilty on Aug. 28, 2013 to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, wire fraud and false use of a passport. She was sentenced on Nov. 19, 2013, by the Honorable Reggie B. Walton. The judge also ordered Abonyi to pay $355,107 in restitution and ordered her to forfeit $1,245 in U.S. currency and a $395,485 money judgment, which represents the proceeds she obtained through the scheme. Upon completion of her prison term, Abonyi will be placed on three years of supervised release.
According to a statement of offense signed by the defendant, Abonyi and others conspired to carry out the scheme from on or about late February 2013 through the beginning of May 2013. Members of the conspiracy falsely advertised and purported to sell motor vehicles, trucks, and motor homes on websites, targeting buyers located mainly in the United States. With assistance from her co-conspirators, Abonyi used false passports and false driver’s licenses to open bank accounts at four different financial institutions in Virginia. During the course of the scheme, Abonyi came to understand that buyers were being induced to wire money and funds into these accounts for the intended purpose of purchasing the vehicles. She fraudulently withdrew funds from the accounts before the buyers, financial institutions, and law enforcement detected the scheme. Abonyi then wired the falsely obtained funds to co-conspirators here in the United States and overseas. Abonyi admitted that the bank accounts she fraudulently opened received over $350,000 from victims.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen, Assistant Director in Charge Parlave, and Special Agent in Charge Meehan praised those who investigated the case from the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and the Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security. They also commended the efforts of Paralegal Specialists Lenisse Edloe, Tasha Harris, and C. Rosalind Pressley of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Finally, they acknowledged the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael K. Atkinson and Diane Lucas, who prosecuted the case.