LEXINGTON, KY - An Eastern European man has admitted his involvement in an international internet fraud ring that defrauded hundreds of purchasers of motor vehicles across the U.S.
Petrica Octavian Stoian, 27, who was extradited from Hungary to the U.S. in June 2013, pleaded guilty in federal court on Monday to one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud.
As part of the scheme, the conspirators used websites, such as eBay.com and Autotrader.com to offer non-existent vehicles for sale. Members of the conspiracy negotiated with victims via telephone and e-mail and instructed them to electronically transfer the purchase funds using Western Union, MoneyGram, or bank wire transfers. The funds were first received by conspiracy members in the U.S. and then resent to co-conspirators abroad.
During his plea in federal court, Stoian admitted his involvement in the conspiracy. Specifically, Stoian acknowledged that he used numerous fraudulent identities to open bank accounts in Europe, which were used to receive funds from the U.S.
Eight other members of the conspiracy have already pleaded guilty and seven are currently awaiting sentencing. Stoian is scheduled to be sentenced on September 22, 2014 before U.S. District Judge Joseph M. Hood. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. However, the Court must consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and applicable federal statutes before imposing a sentence.
This investigation was conducted by special agents with the U.S. Secret Service, Lexington Resident Office, in coordination with international law enforcement agencies.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Erin Roth and Jordi de Llano prosecuted this case on behalf of the federal government.