Boston - A Hungarian man and woman were charged late yesterday in federal court with conspiring to sell vehicles over the Internet and not delivering them, and using false passports to open bank accounts and mailboxes to further the scheme.
Zsolt Lendvai, 26, and Eniko Somodi, 29, were charged in a criminal complaint with conspiracy, mail and wire fraud and identification document fraud. The complaint alleges that Lendvai and Somodi entered the United States in October 2011, and thereafter set up bank accounts and mailboxes under other names using false passports and other identification documents. According to the complaint, Lendvai and Somodi then used the Internet to advertise for sale vehicles that they did not own or have the right to sell, with victims sending funds to the fraudulently-obtained bank accounts. It is alleged that one victim lost $51,000 that was paid for a recreational vehicle, and that area banks had already identified over $1 million in suspected losses as part of the greater scheme. Lendvai and Somodi were arrested on Nov. 29, 2011, in response to a police bulletin about the suspects, and have been incarcerated since then on state charges.
The defendants have been remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals pending their detention hearings which have been scheduled for Dec. 22nd at 2:30 in Courtroom 23.
If convicted on these charges, Lendvai and Somodi each face up to 20 years in prison on the mail and wire fraud counts and five years in prison on the conspiracy and identification documentation fraud counts. Each count also carries the possibility of three years of supervised release upon release, restitution and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gain or loss, whichever is highest.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Bruce Foucart, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis; and Robert Bethel, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service made the announcement today. The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office referred the case and assisted in the prisoners’ transfer from state to federal custody. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott L. Garland and Veronica Lei of Ortiz’s Cybercrimes and Asset Forfeiture Units.
The details contained in the complaint are allegations. The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.