Cryptocurrency fraud dismantled in Romania by Police and US Secret Agents

Aurel Dragan 11/02/2019 | 12:08

Over 100 Romanian police officers and US Secret Service agents raided several addresses in Bucharest and 9 counties as part of a large-scale action to destroy a specialized computer fraud organization that caused damages worth USD 34 million. As a part of the operation, for the first time ever, Romanian authorities have made cryptocurrencies Ripple and Bitcoin unavailable.

According to an IGPR statement, following a request for international judicial assistance from the United States, the Directorate for Combating the Criminal Organization, under the coordination of DIICOT, conducted investigations into a group of Romanians involved in various forms of computer fraud and money laundering. The victims were American citizens, and the damages reached about USD 34 million.

Research has shown that the criminal activity of the people involved would have started in 2016. Through e-commerce sites, group members would display merchandise ads that in reality do not exist, convincing victims to send money to order non-existent goods.

Following the request received from the competent authorities of the United States of America, nearly 100 police officers in organized crime structures in Bucharest, Craiova, Cluj, Ploiesti, Pitesti, Olt, Ilfov, Ialomita, Teleorman and Valcea under the coordination of DIICOT, conducted 27 searches at the homes and residences of the targeted persons.

The raids were also attended by Secret Service agents.

51 mobile phones, 8 HDDs, 40 memoriy sticks, 32 laptops, 12 tablets, 5 PC center units, 86 optical media (CD / DVD), a camera, 11 cards were lifted or disposed of bank, 3 memory cards and 2 cars (worth about EUR 61,000). Also, the sums of RON 207,600, EUR 24,500, USD 5,000 and CHF 5,500 were confiscated.

On the same day, through the Financial Investigation Service of Organized Crime Groups in DCCO, ordinances were put in place to establish a seizure insurer for 10 real estate (7 land, one house and 2 apartments) with a value an estimated total of 310,000 euros.

IGPR underlines that, for the first time for law enforcement authorities in Romania, cryptocurrencies Ripple and Bitcoin, with an estimated value of $ 5,000, were disbanded.

In the case, 18 persons were identified and processed at the DIICOT headquarters, as well as at the organized crime brigades in Cluj and Craiova.

At the same time, 14 persons involved were taken over by the Tracking Service within the Criminal Investigation Directorate, for initiating the procedures for enforcement of an international arrest warrant. Later, the individuals in question were extradited to the United States.

The investigations carried out in terms of committing cybercrime, money laundering and establishing an organized crime group have benefited from specialized support from the Romanian Police Special Operations Directorate.

The US authorities filed charges against the Romanian citizens, including Vlad Nistor, founder of the trading platform CoinFlux.

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