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A Moldavian man accused of running an Internet scam that bilked would-be car buyers pled guilty to wire fraud charges Thursday in Rochester.
Dumitru Doban, 27, ran a scheme that lured 18 people in New York, Arizona, California, Nevada, North Carolina and Canada into paying cash for non-existent cars, U.S. Attorney William Hochul Jr. said.
As part of a plea agreement, Doban admitted to being part of a ring that prosecutors believe scammed victims out of $400,000 to $1 million. According to prosecutors, Doban’s personal take came to some $250,000.
Doban posted online advertisements for cars and directed buyers to send payments through bogus third-party websites with names such as eBay Motors and Google Wallet. Buyers got emails from the bogus third-party sites telling them to deposit payments in bank accounts Doban opened in various U.S. cities, including Rochester. Ultimately, the money ended up in accounts in Moldava and Ukraine.
To run the scheme, Doban used a bevy of aliases including Octavian Kucera, Kucera Oktavian, Pavel Luhovny, Michal Pudil and Tomas Kulla. He also used fake Czech Republic passports.
Doban is slated to be sentenced in the U.S. District Court in Rochester by District Judge Frank Geraci on April 7. Doban faces up to 20 years in prison and as much as a $250,000 fine.
Another Moldavian indicted in September, Vasile Leu, faces wire fraud charges for allegedly participating in the same scheme, prosecutors said.
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