Romanian Man Convicted on 33 Counts of Wire Fraud
|Sept. 26, 2013|
VICTORIA, Texas - A federal jury sitting in Victoria has convicted Romanian national Doru Gabriel Trifu, 28, on all 33 counts as charged in an Internet fraud scheme, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. The jury returned its verdicts late yesterday following a four-day trial.
Trifu, a Romanian non-immigrant residing in Orangevale, Calif., was part of the fraudulent scheme in which consumer items were listed for sale over the Internet. Individuals attempting to make purchases were instructed to send money via MoneyGram to an escrow agent who would accept the funds, complete the transaction and deliver the item. However, after the buyer electronically transferred the money, the item would never be delivered.
During trial, the government presented videos and numerous surveillance photographs taken from Wal-Mart stores across Texas, Mississippi and Alabama where the fraudulent transactions occurred.
Testimony was provided by several victims who described how they were told they were purchasing the item from a U.S. serviceman who was about to deploy to the Middle East and were told to use a third party broker to complete the transaction.
An agent with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) also testified and identified a pattern of approximately 230 fraudulent transactions between March 2011 and February 2012 using two fake U.S. passport numbers. Over the course of the scheme, the amount of identified fraud totaled more than $567,000.
Senior U.S. District Judge John Rainey, who presided over the trial, has set sentencing for Dec. 2, 2013, at which time Trifu faces a maximum of 20 years of imprisonment and a possible $250,000 fine on each count. He has been in custody since his November arrest in California where he will remain pending that hearing.
The case was investigated by HSI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lance Watt is prosecuting.