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Financial Crimes

Romanian national residing in California indicted in south Texas for wire fraud

Defendant allegedly conducted more than 230 fraudulent transactions with Internet purchasers in Texas, Mississippi and Alabama

VICTORIA, Texas – A federal grand jury issued a seven-count indictment Wednesday against a Romanian national who is alleged to be part of an Internet fraud scheme.

This indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas. This investigation is being conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Doru Gabriel Trifu, 27, a Romanian non-immigrant residing in Orangevale, Calif., was allegedly part of a fraudulent scheme in which consumer items were listed for sale on the Internet. Anyone attempting to purchase the items was instructed to send the money via MoneyGram; an escrow agent would accept the funds, complete the transaction and deliver the item. However, according to the indictment, after the buyer electronically transferred the money through MoneyGram, the purchased items were never delivered.

The indictment alleges that between March 2011 and February 2012, Trifu used a counterfeit U.S. passport to collect money in about 230 fraudulent transactions valued at more than $567,000 across Texas, Mississippi and Alabama.

Trifu has been in federal custody since his November arrest in California. A trial date will be set early next year before Senior U.S. District Judge John Rainey.

Each count carries a maximum penalty of not more than 20 years of imprisonment and a possible $250,000 fine upon conviction.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lance Watt, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting this case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.