A Romanian scammer was sentenced yesterday to four years in prison for his role as a money mule in an international fraud scheme that targeted online bidders, the FBI’s Chicago division announced.
According to court documents, Adrian Ghighina, 33, of Bucharest, Romania, moved and hid the illicit proceeds of an global scam in which co-conspirators created fraudulent online auctions on websites such as eBay, Craigslist and AutoTrader.com.
Interested buyers were asked to send payment for the nonexistent items using Western Union and via bank wire transfers to accounts controlled by Ghighina. The victims never received the items for which they had paid.
The sentence resolves two separate indictments against Ghighina; one from a federal grand jury in the Northern District of Illinois and a separate indictment from a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia. Ghighina also previously was convicted on related charges of wire and visa fraud in the Southern District of Florida and sentenced on those charges to 27 months in prison.
Based on the plea agreement, the sentence imposed yesterday will run concurrently with Ghighina’s sentence in the Florida case, for which he has already served 21 months in prison.