Bitcoin, Fraud and Scams

Romanian Mob uses Bitcoin Exchange as a Front

A Bulgarian national has been arrested for laundering nearly $5M worth of Bitcoin through a cryptocurrency exchange; it served as a front for a Romanian criminal syndicate that has defrauded Americans thru online auctions.

Last week, the US DOJ announced that the 53-yr-old Rossen Iossifov from Kentucky, previously of Bulgaria, has convicted of one count of the conspiracy committed to racketeering and the other count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. The trial has lasted for two weeks, with the sentencing scheduled for January 2021.

The department states that Iossifov and his co-conspirators have taken part in a large-scale online auction fraud conspiracy that took over 900 American victims. The Romanian members of the group have posted the advertisements on sites like eBay and Craigslist for expensive items (like vehicles) that never existed, taking in the money, and then setting up fake call centers that try to moderate the worried and confused victims.

The group has also stolen the American citizens’ identities as a part of the conspiracy and then created invoices from popular companies to make it look convincing to the victims before sending their payments. Most of the time, the group has also crafted “persuasive narratives” as per the department, like pretending to be a military member who needs to sell an item before getting deployed.

Eventually, Iossifov has been accused of laundering more than $4.9m WORTH OF Bitcoin through his Bulgaria-based Bitcoin exchange named RG Coins. He was reported to have done so from September 2015 to December 2018, and then knowingly exchanged fiat money related to some illegal activities.

The DOJ has heavily pursued this criminal group, having Iossifov, the 17th member to be convicted. The other three members are remaining at large as fugitives. More than a dozen members of the group have been extradited from Romania up until now.

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