January 29, 2023

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Bogus Online Auto Auction Participant Indicted For Bank Fraud | USAO-NDCA

SAN JOSE – A federal grand jury indicted Ionut Ganea with 3 counts of financial institution fraud in a plan to defraud shoppers with fake on the web car auction commercials, announced United States Lawyer Stephanie M. Hinds and Federal Bureau of Investigation Unique Agent in Cost Sean Ragan.

According to the indictment, Ionut Ganea, 28, a Romanian national very last regarded to be in Romania, conspired to defraud people by posting fraudulent auto auction adverts on many car web-sites.  The vehicle auction commercials contained info standard of genuine auctions, including photos of the automobiles for sale.  The indictment alleges, nonetheless, that the automobiles marketed for sale have been not owned by the purported sellers.  The purported sellers thereafter communicated with intrigued consumers through on-line messaging platforms and induced them to position bids on the auctions.  After a target-buyer “won” an auction and wired payment to the seller’s bank account as instructed, the car was hardly ever delivered.

The indictment alleges Ganea acted as a “money mule” in the scheme, collecting the illegally obtained dollars and sending it to the other members in the fraud.  Ganea employed pretend identities to set up financial institution accounts in the United States with respectable banking institutions.  The financial institution accounts were used to get the wire transfers of money from the sufferer-potential buyers in the fraudulent auctions.  Ganea then allegedly withdrew the resources from the accounts. 

In between December 2019 and September 2020, the indictment alleges Ganea opened at least 74 financial institution accounts in eight financial institutions across the place while applying 28 pretend names and fraudulent passports from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Latvia.  According to the indictment, 117 person target-customers wired virtually $2 million dollars to these accounts, and Ganea withdrew a lot more than $1.8 million of individuals funds.

The federal indictment charges Ganea with three counts of bank fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344(2).  The utmost statutory sentence for every violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344(2) is 30 yrs in jail, a fantastic up to $1,000,000 or twice the gross achieve or reduction volume, and 5 a long time of supervised release pursuing jail.  However, any sentence following a conviction would be imposed by a court docket only following consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Tips and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Ganea continues to be at significant.  The investigation proceeds.           

The charges contained in the legal indictment are only allegations.  As in any prison case, the defendant is presumed innocent until and right up until verified guilty in a court docket of regulation.

Assistant United States Attorney Anne Hsieh is prosecuting the case with the support of Laurie Worthen.  The prosecution was the outcome of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.