Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Melbourne Man Pleads Guilty To Credit Card Shopping Scam

At the end of 2014, a Melbourne man was arrested in Australia for taking part in a darknet shopping scam involving stolen credit cards. Now, as he was standing trial, he confessed to some of the charges against him.

According to the court information, the 36-year-old Tanmoy Islam was an active member of the darknet community. The defendant met “Mr X”, an unknown person behind a dark web pseudo name, who he agreed with to commit shopping scams together. In the scheme, Mr X would purchase goods with stolen credit card information, send the products to Islam, who would sell them on eBay. Mr X would take a cut from the sales, and agreed to pay Islam’s bills and fees.

Between August and December 2014, law enforcement authorities reported, Mr X placed orders at seven online stores buying products, including Nike sneakers, cricket batting gloves, cricket bats, compression gear and football jerseys. At one instance, the unknown darknet criminal spent $750 at one online store buying a sleep apnoea machine. Police estimated the total value of goods bought illegally by the due to be more than $23,600.

The carded products, addressed to Islam and various fake names, would arrive at the post office or different addresses associated with the 36-year-old suspect, who would pick them up, or have an accomplice pick them up. On one occasion in August 2014, Islam took possession of and sent 15 kilograms of clothing and shoes, which Mr X purchased with skimmed credit card numbers, to Islamabad, Pakistan.

However, the duo’s scam did not last long. On November 7, the manager of a sports store in Fyshwick, the Greg Chappell Cricket Centre, reported fraudulent transactions to the police. Law enforcement authorities started an investigation in the case, in which they identified Islam and his associate, and arrested the main suspect.

Investigators started monitoring the orders, where they tracked down an associate of Islam. Law enforcement authorities questioned him, during the interrogation, the accomplice told the officers that they had paid Mr X in bitcoins. On December 16, 2014, law enforcement authorities searched the house of Islam in Harrison, finding a number of brand new items matching those in the fraudulent transactions.

In May 2015, investigators gained access to the defendant’s eBay account and checked his listings. A number of products listed for sale matched items on the fraudulent orders and invoices. Police reported that some products were sold, to the tune of $1,500 worth of transactions.

The charges against Islam were based on an agreed police statement of facts that was presented to the court on April 3. The prosecution accused the defendant of knowing that the items he sold were acquired illegally. On Monday in the ACT Magistrates Court, Islam, who now lives in Melbourne, pleaded guilty to money laundering and unlawful possession of stolen property. The suspect had been charged with 10 counts of obtaining or attempting to obtain property by deception, but the prosecution dropped these charges on Monday before Magistrate Margaret Hunter.

Magistrate Hunter ordered the defendant to complete a pre-sentence report. The next court trial will be held on June 16, where Islam will await his sentencing.

At the end of March, an Illinois man was taken into police custody for running an online scam. The Carpentersville police reported that the 30-year-old Renato Munteanu used a fake Nevada driver’s license on March 28 at a Walmart at 365 Lake Marian Rd. in Carpentersville to access $1,500 that was sent to a MoneyGram account as part of an online scam. The arrest was followed by a complaint filed by a woman in North Carolina. According to the police information, she sent $1,500 to a MoneyGram account to purchase a product she viewed on Craigslist, which was allegedly sold using eBay Buying Protection Services.

Investigators requested video proof of the transaction on March 28. The following day, a Walmart employee identified Munteanu when he returned to the store and alerted the police. At the time of his arrest, Munteanu had two fake Nevada driver licenses in his possession, investigators reported. Additionally, law enforcement authorities seized computers and printers used for making fake IDs and more than $50,000 in cash in the suspect’s rented vehicle.

Munteanu was charged with continuing financial criminal enterprise, theft, two counts of issue or deliver forged document and two counts of possession or display fictitious ID card — all felonies. He was also charged with a misdemeanor count of possession of identification material hardware or software. On March 31, Munteanu’s bond was set to $400,000.

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