The US Department of Justice has sentenced a 53-year-old Bulgarian national to 121 months in jail for a multimillion-dollar, transnational fraud scheme against American victims. The charges levied against him include conspiracy to commit a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) offense and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
The perpetrator Rossen G. Iossifov, who owned and ran a cryptocurrency exchange based in Bulgaria, knowingly and wilfully assisted financial criminals in laundering fraudulently procured money while protecting himself from any criminal liability. Iossifov’s clients included Romanian scammers from a criminal enterprise called by law enforcement as Alexandria (Romania) Online Auction Fraud (AOAF) Network.
Iossifov and others carried out a large-scale online auction fraud that affected at least 900 Americans. Romania-based AOAF scammers posted false advertisements for non-existent expensive items like vehicles to websites like eBay and craigslist. They convinced the victims to make their payments to their US-based co-conspirators who then converted the money to cryptocurrency and transferred it to foreign-based money launderers like Iossifov.
Iossifov provided more favourable exchange rates to criminals in the AOAF Network. He also also allowed these criminals to perform cryptocurrency transactions without maintaining any documentation of identity or funding sources. This allowed Iossifov to launder over $5 million in cryptocurrency ($7 million funds scammed from American victims) for such criminals in under 3 years. Iossifov earned around $184,000 from this scam.
Source: US Department of Justice