US offers rewards for Romanian pair in online scam

An undated image provided by the FBI shows Nicolae Popescu. US officials on Nov 18, 2014 added suspected online fraudster Popescu to its most-wanted list of cyber criminals and put a price on his head. A reward of as much as a million dollars is bein
An undated image provided by the FBI shows Nicolae Popescu. US officials on Nov 18, 2014 added suspected online fraudster Popescu to its most-wanted list of cyber criminals and put a price on his head. A reward of as much as a million dollars is being offered for information that results in the capture or conviction of Popescu, who investigators believe may be in Europe. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US officials on Tuesday added suspected online fraudster Nicolae Popescu to its most-wanted list of cyber criminals and put a price on his head.

A reward of as much as a million dollars is being offered for information that results in the capture or conviction of Popescu, who investigators believe may be in Europe.

A bounty capped at US$750,000 (S$970,000) is also being offered for information leading to the arrest and successful criminal prosecution of Dumitru Daniel Bosogioiu, a fellow Romanian identified as a co-conspirator in the cyber fraud with Popescu.

That fraud milked millions of dollars from shoppers by posting fake listings for high-value items such as cars and boats online, according to the US Department of State.

Online shoppers were directed to wire payments to bank accounts opened with bogus identification, then the money was transferred to leaders overseeing the scam from Romania, investigators said in a news release.

Popescu and Bosogioiu are wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on charges including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering, and passport fraud.

The FBI added Popescu to its Cyber's Most Wanted list which was started in 2013 to spotlight "egregious cyber crimes committed on a global scale."