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Financial Crimes

Romanian woman sentenced to 33 months in federal prison for committing wire fraud

ORLANDO, Fla. – A Romanian woman was sentenced Tuesday to 33 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Florida's Orange County Sheriff's Office.

According to court documents, between December 2011 and January, Miruna Eugenia Lixandru, 33, of Ramnicu Valcea, Romania, and her co-conspirators used a website that featured automobiles for sale to lure victims into wiring cash to purchase items that did not exist. The conspirators instructed the victims to wire the cash through Western Union or MoneyGram to different locations throughout Orange County. Lixandru, using several aliases and counterfeit identifications, including a forged U.S. passport, collected the money and then wired the cash out of the country to her co-conspirators. None of the 50 victims ever received their goods. Lixandru and her co-conspirators, however, received more than $125,000 from their victims.

On January 12, Lixandru was arrested after she attempted to flee an Orlando supermarket while fraudulently trying to wire money to Romania through Western Union. In connection with Lixandru's arrest, authorities found a Romanian passport, $21,497 in cash, four mobile phones, various money-wiring transmission receipts, fraudulent licenses, a forged U.S. passport, document-making tools and notebooks containing records of her criminal activity.

In addition to her sentence, the court ordered Lixandru to forfeit traceable proceeds from the offense, which totaled more than $125,000.

Lixandru pleaded guilty July 20.