WANTED FOR: Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, Money Laundering, Passport Fraud, and Trafficking in Counterfeit Service Marks; Wire Fraud; Money Laundering; Passport Fraud; Trafficking in Counterfeit Service Marks
REWARD: The United States Department of State’s Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program is offering a reward of up to $1 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Nicolae Popescu.
Nicolae Popescu is wanted for his alleged participation in a sophisticated Internet Fraud scheme in which criminal enterprise conspirators, based in Romania and elsewhere in Europe, posted advertisements on Internet auction market sites for merchandise for sale. Such advertisements contained images and descriptions of vehicles and other items for sale, but those items did not really exist. Conspirators posing as sellers then negotiated via e-mail with unsuspecting buyers in the United States. These “sellers” sent fraudulent invoices, that appeared to be from legitimate online payment services, to the victim buyers, with instructions for payment to bank accounts held by other conspirators in the United States. These conspirators opened United States bank accounts under false identities using fraudulent passports made in Europe by other conspirators. When victims wired money to an account identified on the false invoices, the conspirator associated with that account would be notified and then would withdraw the proceeds and send them via wire transfer to another conspirator based on e-mailed instructions.
A federal arrest warrant was issued for Nicolae Popescu on Dec. 20, 2012, in the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, Brooklyn, New York, after he was charged by indictment for Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, Money Laundering, Passport Fraud, and Trafficking in Counterfeit Service Marks; Wire Fraud; Money Laundering; Passport Fraud; and Trafficking in Counterfeit Service Marks.
Popescu speaks Romanian. He may have traveled to Europe.