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Third Hungarian National Charged in Internet Car Sales Scheme
JANUARY 3, 2012

Boston - A Hungarian man was charged this afternoon in federal court in connection with an Internet car sales scheme for which two other Hungarian nationals have also been arrested and charged.

Tamas Ringhoffer, 30, was charged today in a criminal complaint with conspiracy, wire fraud and passport fraud. On Dec. 15, 2011, Zsolt Lendvai and Eniko Somodi were charged in a criminal complaint with conspiracy, mail and wire fraud, and identification document fraud. The complaint affidavit filed against Lendvai and Somodi alleges that the two set up bank accounts and mailboxes under other names using false passports and other identification documents. According to that 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.

Today’s complaint alleges that Ringhoffer, Lendvai and Somodi were part of the same conspiracy. It is alleged that Ringhoffer entered the United States in Nov. 2011 and thereafter set up a bank account under an alias and was in the process of setting up another bank account using false identification documents. According to the complaint, at least one victim had wired Ringhoffer’s bank account $18,500 as a down-payment for a recreational vehicle. Ringhoffer has been in custody since his arrest on Nov. 29, 2011.

If convicted on these charges, Ringhoffer faces up to 20 years in prison on the wire fraud count, 10 years in prison on the passport fraud count and five years in prison on the conspiracy count. Each count also carries up to three years of supervised release, restitution, forfeiture 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; and Robert Bethel, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott L. Garland and Veronica M. Lei of Ortiz’s Cybercrimes and Asset Forfeiture Units.

The details contained in the complaints are allegations. The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.



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