Defendant In Romanian Cybercrime Ring Convicted Of Wire Fraud And Identification Document Fraud Conspiracies
Following a four-day trial, a federal jury in Brooklyn yesterday returned a verdict convicting David Ojo of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and identification document fraud. The defendant was a member of an international organized crime conspiracy, operating in Romania, Bulgaria, and the United States, that defrauded victims of tens of thousands of dollars through an Internet scam.
The conviction was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and George Venizelos, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), New York Field Office.
Trial testimony showed that the defendant and his co-conspirators advertised used cars for sale on websites like Craigslist and eBay. Some buyers who responded to the advertisements were told variations of a story that the seller of the car had been called to active duty in Afghanistan and needed to sell his car quickly. The victims were promised that their purchases would be handled by an eBay or Google Checkout agent, who would hold their payments in escrow until they had received the car. Once the victims agreed to buy the cars and wired payments through Western Union, they never received any cars or heard from the purported sellers again.
The defendant worked with individuals in Romania and the United States to make and use false Pennsylvania and Delaware driver’s licenses, which they used to claim the money that the victims had wired through Western Union. The defendant was personally responsible for making or directing more than 30 separate money pick-ups in which victims were defrauded out of more than $80,000.
“Ojo and his cohorts sought to hide in cyberspace as they concocted a scheme that crossed the ocean and invoked patriotic themes to fleece hard working Americans. Their scheme was a new low for used car dealers, but no match for law enforcement. This conviction shows that we are committed to rooting out Internet scams that prey on those that purchase goods online,” stated United States Attorney Lynch.
When sentenced by the Honorable Allyne R. Ross, the defendant faces a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Douglas M. Pravda and Margaret E. Gandy.