Success in Romania shows power of global cooperation against cybercrime
byAdam_Palmer07-29-201107:00 AM - edited 07-27-201105:58 PM
Last week brought good news in the fight against cybercrime with the report of more than 100 arrests of cybercriminal suspects in the U.S. and Romania.
Often in this blog space, I discuss the importance of global cooperation. The arrests last week illustrate the power of effective cooperation. These arrests resulted from the close cooperation between Romanian law enforcement and U.S. law enforcement. This investigation is a great tribute to the dedication and professionalism of the law enforcement involved in this case. It is also a reminder that cybercriminals utilize global networks to target victims in every country.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice press release and U.S. court documents, “the conspirators located in Romania would post items for sale such as cars, motorcycles and boats on Internet auction and online websites. They would instruct victims located around the world who wanted to buy those items to wire transfer the purchase money to a fictitious name they claimed to be an employee of an escrow company. Once the victim wired the funds, the co-conspirators in Romania would text information about the wire transfer to co-conspirators in the United States known as “arrows” to enable them to retrieve the wired funds. They would also provide the arrows with instructions as to where to send the funds after retrieval. The arrows in the United States would go to money transmitter service counters, provide false documents including passports and drivers’ licenses in the name of the recipient of the wire transfer, and obtain the funds. They would subsequently wire the funds overseas, typically to individuals in Romania, minus a percentage kept for their commissions. In some cases, co-conspirators in Romania also directed arrows to provide bank accounts in the United States where larger amounts of funds could be wired by victims of the fraud. The victims would not receive the items they believed they were purchasing.”
U.S. authorities believe this scheme has resulted in an estimated loss of more than $10 million from victims, including those in the U.S.
This case now will move to courtrooms in the U.S. and Romania. In reality, only half the work of law enforcement is now done. The next phase of this case is the critical job for prosecutors to present the evidence in an understandable and compelling format that proves the case.