A federal grand jury has indicted six foreign nationals on charges related to an Internet sales scheme that allegedly defrauded Americans who attempted to purchase automobiles and other vehicles on the Internet through websites that included eBay Motors, Auto Trader, Yahoo Auto, Edmunds.com and Craigslist.
The indictment alleges a scheme in which members of the conspiracy offered vehicles – including automobiles, motorcycles, motor homes and boats – for sale on various websites. After the purchase price was negotiated through telephone and email communications, co-conspirators emailed fraudulent invoices to the purchasers. The fake invoices appeared to be from eBay, Edmunds.com, PayPal, and Google Checkout, and the documents often bore the names and logos of these legitimate companies. The victims were instructed to wire the agreed-upon purchase price into bank accounts they thought were related to the escrow companies, but had in fact been set up by members of the conspiracy who often used false identification to open the accounts. The fraudulent invoices falsely represented that the funds would not be released to the purported sellers until the purchasers had received and approved the purchased vehicles, and victims were further told that they had the option of returning the vehicles at the seller’s expense within a week of receiving and inspecting the vehicle…
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