The FBI is offering a $1 million dollar reward for a tip that will catch Nicolae Popescu. He’s landed on the FBI’s most wanted listed for selling fake cars online and he’s apparently been good at it, because investigators say he’s made $3 million dollars taking money from unsuspecting car buyers.
The investigation into Popescu stems from the FBI’s cyber crime division, where a dedicated team spends days and nights trying to track down criminals of just this sort.
Investigators say Popescu and his cohorts had a fairly simple plan to seal from people looking to buy a car. They posted fake ads on sites like Cars.com and Autotrader, according to the Washington Post. When someone was ready to buy, they’d send a fraudulent invoice that appeared legit. Unsuspecting car buyers then wired the money without ever receiving the car. Members of the ring opened bank accounts in the U.S. with fake passports to handle the money.
According to The Washington Post, six members of this ring were arrested in 2012, and a warrant was issued for Popescu on December 20, 2012. US District Court indicted him on multiple counts, including wire fraud, money laundering, passport fraud, and trafficking in counterfeit service marks. He’s now believed to be in Romania. You can find out more or submit a tip on the FBI’s Cyber Most Wanted page.
The Car Pro recently gave some tips when buying a car online and even across the country. Check it out here.