Online auction schemes that sucker cash out of innocent folks with fake listings may be a bit of a dinosaur compared to more modern digital schemes, but the archaic model has yet to go out of style completely. Adrian Ghighina, a Romanian national living in the U.S., can vouch for that. The cyber thief was sentenced by a judge in Chicago this week to 48 months in prison after pleading guilty in February to wire fraud and conspiracy.
The Department of Justice described Ghighina’s criminal activities as a “complex Internet fraud conspiracy” in a statement announcing the sentencing. The 33-year old man, who arrived in the U.S. back in 2004, took a different view of the “land of opportunity” and began defrauding unwitting customers around the country just one year later.
Ghighina, along with an unspecified number of cohorts located in his home country, listed imaginary items on popular auction sites such as eBay, Craigslist and AutoTrader – expensive cars and motorcycles. After the fake auctions duped enough ignorant buyers to deposit cash via wire transfers, Ghighina took his earnings, closed up shop in whatever city he was currently conducting his “business” and moved on to another.
Authorities revealed that over the course of the four year spree he illicitly milked funds in New York, Arizona, Washington D.C., Illinois and more. The Romanian con-artist was previously sentenced to over two years in prison on separate charges in Florida, but pleaded out so the two sentences would run concurrently. (via The U.S. Department of Justice)