Romanian pleads guilty to eBay cyberlaundering scam

By Christine Duhaime | February 20th, 2011

A Romanian man has pleaded guilty for his role in a cyberlaundering scam that took in about US$2.7 million from users of online marketplaces such as eBay, Craigslist and AutoTrader. Adrian Ghighina, 33, of Bucharest, pleaded guilty  to conspiracy, bank fraud and money laundering in U.S. District Court for the District of Illinois. Ghighina was a money mule whose job was to pick up cash wired to him by online buyers who thought they were purchasing cars, RVs, and motorcycles from legitimate sellers. He apparently used a number of tricks to get prospective buyers to wire funds to him by hijacking legitimate eBay accounts, sending buyers fake “second chance” offers, or pretending people’s money would be held in escrow until the goods they bought were delivered. Ghighina would keep between 20% and 40% of the cash wired to him, which often totalled thousands of dollars at a time.

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