In case you didn't know, its not always the best idea to buy luxury jewelry or cars from online marketplace sites, and here's some proof. Seven defendants were taken into custody in Romania, Czech Republic, U.K. and Canada stemming from fake internet marketplace listings for non-existent Audemars Piguet and Cartier watches, Mercedes, Porsche, and BMW cars, motorcycles, boats and other luxury goods priced from $10,000 to $45,000. Further, the U.S. Attorney's office filed a suit in the Eastern District of New York this week.
According to the FBI, Emil Butoi, Aurel Cojocaru, Nicolae Ghebosila, Cristea Mircea, Ion Pieptea and Nicolae Simion corresponded with the buyers via e-mail, sending fake certificates of title and other information designed to lure victims into making a purchase. From there, when they reached an agreement with the buyers, they would often e-mail them fraudulent invoices purporting to be from online payment services such as Amazon Payments or PayPal. It’s estimated that the defendants earned more than $3 million from the scheme, for which each defendant is charged with wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. If convicted, they will face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each count. Moral of the story: when you're in the market for luxury goods (online or not) only shop authorized sellers.