The Federal Bureau of Investigation has put a $1m bounty on the head of Nicolae Popescu, a Romanian accused of running an online car sales scam.
Popescu, 34, and an accomplice called Dumitru Daniel Bosogioiu, for whom the FBI is offering $750,000, are wanted for allegedly running an online sales scam that promised non-existent cars to unwary buyers.
Popescu has been added to the FBI most wanted list.
FBI documents claim that the pair, along with around a dozen co-conspirators, posted car listing adverts onto a range of sites including eBay and Autotrader and sold the items to customers.
The scammers retained an air of authenticity by using invoices that appeared to be from Amazon Payments and PayPal. Funds were collected by the 'sellers' and the money allegedly forwarded to Popescu.
The FBI estimates that the defendants and their co-conspirators earned over $3m from the scheme by offering cars, motorbikes and boats for up to $45,000.
The agency added that uncovered communications between the main pair revealed a belief that Romania would not extradite them to the US. The authorities dispute this.
"As alleged, Popescu and his close associate Bosogioiu engaged in a pattern of pervasive criminal conduct, victimising hard-working American consumers looking to purchase cars," said Loretta Lynch, US attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
"They believed international borders would allow them to act with impunity. They were wrong. By now, Popescu and Bosogioiu have seen their co-conspirators brought here to account for their crimes.
"Today's reward offered by the State Department makes clear that we are determined in our efforts to find these fugitives, no matter where they hide, and bring them to justice for the crimes they have committed against our citizens."
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