Deputy Attorney General, Mark R. Filip, made the announcement with the Romanian Prosecutor General, Laura Codruþa Kövesi, to highlight the extensive and continued cooperation between the two countries in addressing these types of international crimes.
A federal grand jury in Los Angeles charged 33 of the individuals in a 65-count indictment unsealed today for their alleged participation in an international phishing scam that used the Internet to defraud thousands of individual victims and hundreds of financial institutions.
Customers from Citibank, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase, Comerica Bank, Wells Fargo, eBay and PayPal were among the targeted victims.
Seven individuals were also charged in a District of Connecticut indictment for their roles in an Internet phishing scheme, however this number includes two people who were charged in the Los Angeles case.
In one attack, the scammers sent out over 1.3 million fake emails. Once they had garnered the victims’ information, they sent the details back to the US where they were transferred onto counterfeit cards. These cards were then used to draw out money from ATMs.
If convicted, each of the individuals in Connecticut faces a maximum term of five years in prison on each conspiracy charge, and a mandatory term of two years in prison on the aggravated identify theft charge. As if that weren’t enough, each of them is subject to a fine of up to $250,000 on each count, or twice the gain resulting from the offense, whichever is greater.