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By Clare O’Gara
Thu | Jun 18, 2020 | 6:15 AM PDT

That's a lot of hassle for some new wheels. Particularly when the wheels don't actually exist

DOJ uncovers cars for sale cybercrime network

Anyone who's made purchases on Craigslist or eBay knows that there's inherent risk involved in that marketplace.

However, chances are, most of us wouldn't anticipate something like this. 

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently busted an international cyber fraud scheme involving the sale of fake cars and other high-priced items.

"Specifically, Romania-based members of the conspiracy posted false advertisements to popular online auction and sales websites—such as Craigslist and eBay—for high-cost goods (typically vehicles) that did not actually exist. Members of the conspiracy would convince American victims to send money for the advertised goods by crafting persuasive narratives, for example, by impersonating a military member who needed to sell the advertised item before deployment."

Cybercrime network tried to hide profits in cryptocurrency

Fifteen defendants recently pleaded guilty to the conspiracy, but not before they ultimately exchanged cash for $1.8 million in Bitcoin.

"Once victims were convinced to send payment, the conspiracy participants engaged in a complicated money laundering scheme wherein domestic associates would accept victim funds, convert these funds to cryptocurrency, and transfer proceeds in the form of cryptocurrency to foreign-based money launderers."

Here's what Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer had to say about the case:

"These are scam artists who hide behind a wall of technology which allows them to prey upon innocent victims throughout the United States."

A cyber scheme like this is complicated; but apparently, not complicated enough to avoid getting caught.

Related cybercrime podcast

Crimes like these are part of the Enterprise Business Model of Cybercrime. Listen to our podcast episode with the U.S. Secret Service: