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Costa Mesa Police Department
Monday October 28th, 2013 :: 02:49 p.m. PDT


Romanian cyber fraud suspects, linked to Costa Mesa Police Department fraud investigation, arrested

Costa Mesa Police officers’ collaboration with F.B.I. and U.S. Attorney’s Office help indict international fugitives wanted for multimillion dollar cyber fraud scheme.

On 10-24-13, representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Federal Bureau of Investigation announced federal charges against Romanian fugitive Nicolae Popescu and six additional Romanian nationals who remain at large. These fugitives are currently wanted for their criminal involvement in a sophisticated cyber fraud conspiracy that primarily targeted American consumers on popular national websites. In early December of 2012, six additional co-defendants participating in Popescu’s scheme were arrested in a coordinated international takedown.

A fraud investigation originally conducted by Costa Mesa Police Detective Eugene Kim during late 2007 disclosed criminal activity related to the Romanian crime syndicate. Costa Mesa Police Special Investigations Unit (S.I.U.) Officers Larry Fettis, Matt Selinske and Daniel Miles served as case agents who collaborated with federal authorities to develop the initial case. Additional Costa Mesa Police S.I.U. officers who assisted with follow up included Officers George Maridakis, George Escanuelas, Bang Le, Mario Garcia, Kevin Westman, Tina Natividad and Aaron Parsons. CMPD S.I.U. officers’ follow up was linked to activities of interest occurring in southern California, western states, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania.

The Romanian fraud syndicate carried out its elaborate scheme through the coordinated efforts of its members. By placing bogus advertisements in the cyber marketplace for high-value (non-existent) items, the criminals netted millions of dollars. The criminal group successfully facilitated their high-dollar Internet marketplace transactions with victims worldwide by using fake websites, counterfeit certificates of title, false identities and counterfeit payment service information. In many cases, the victims’ fraudulently obtained funds were ultimately funneled into American bank accounts set up by the defendants.

Currently, federal authorities are actively working with international authorities to locate and arrest defendants, involved with the scheme, who are still at large.

Costa Mesa Police Department
99 Fair Dr
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 714-754-5252

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