Following a four-day trial, a federal jury in Brooklyn yesterday returned a verdict convicting David Ojo of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and identification document fraud. The defendant was a member of an international organized crime conspiracy, operating in Romania, Bulgaria, and the United States, that defrauded victims of tens of thousands of dollars through an Internet scam.
The conviction was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States
Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and George Venizelos,
Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), New
York Field Office.
Trial testimony showed that the defendant and his co-conspirators
advertised used cars for sale on websites like Craigslist and eBay. Some
buyers who responded to the advertisements were told variations of a
story that the seller of the car had been called to active duty in
Afghanistan and needed to sell his car quickly. The victims were
promised that their purchases would be handled by an eBay or Google
checkout agent, who would hold their payments in escrow until they had
received the car. Once the victims agreed to buy the cars and wired
payments through Western Union, they never received any cars or heard
from the purported sellers again.
The defendant worked with individuals in Romania and the United
States to make and use false Pennsylvania and Delaware driver’s
licenses, which they used to claim the money that the victims had wired
through Western Union. The defendant was personally responsible for
making or directing more than 30 separate money pick-ups in which
victims were defrauded out of more than $80,000.
“Ojo and his cohorts sought to hide in cyberspace as they concocted a
scheme that crossed the ocean and invoked patriotic themes to fleece
hard working Americans. Their scheme was a new low for used car dealers,
but no match for law enforcement. This conviction shows that we are
committed to rooting out Internet scams that prey on those that purchase
goods online,” stated United States Attorney Lynch.
When sentenced by the Honorable Allyne R. Ross, the defendant faces a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Douglas M. Pravda and Margaret E. Gandy.