U.S. Attorney’s Office
January 31, 2013
Northern District of New York
Internet Scammer Indicted on Fraud Charges
SYRACUSE, NY—United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian announced that a Syracuse federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Alexandru Turcan, 29, with wire fraud, false use of a passport, and aggravated identity theft in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, 1543 and 1028A. Turcan, originally from Chisinau, Moldova, is a lawful permanent resident of the United States. He was apprehended while entering the United States through Orlando, Florida.
The indictment alleges that Turcan conducted a scheme to defraud individuals who responded to advertisements listing vehicles on http://www.autotrader.com., a website that displays automobiles for sale. Two victims, in responding to an advertisement posted by Turcan, believed they were purchasing a 2007 Chevrolet Silverado and a 1968 Ford Shelby Mustang. The victims, citizens of Connecticut and Georgia, wired $17,900 and $21,000, respectively, to purchase the vehicles to a bank account established by Turcan in Syracuse, New York. Turcan opened the account under a false name using a counterfeited passport. After transferring the funds to Turcan’s bank account, the victims never received the vehicles they believed they had purchased.
If convicted of aggravated identity theft, Turcan faces a mandatory two-year term of imprisonment that would run concurrently with any term of imprisonment imposed for conviction of wire fraud and false use of a passport. If convicted of wire fraud, Turcan faces a 20-year maximum term of imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and an order of restitution compensating the victims for their losses. If convicted of false use of a passport, Turcan faces a 10 year maximum term of imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and an order of restitution.
The indictment is merely an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
This case was investigated by the Upstate Electronic Crimes Task Force including the Syracuse Police Department and the United States Secret Service, the Office of the Ohio Attorney General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Diplomatic Security Services, and the Department of Homeland Security, Connecticut State Police Computer Crimes Unit. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gwen Carroll. For further information, contact Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney John G. Duncan at 315-448-0672