eBay hijacker jailed after 'Aladdin’s cave' of false documents found in home (From Watford Observer)
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eBay hijacker, Alexandru Chirila, jailed after 'Aladdin’s cave' of false documents found in home
A Romanian scammer involved with a gang that "hijacked" eBay sales and directed hundreds of thousands of pounds into fraudulent bank accounts was arrested after police spotted him "acting suspiciously" in Watford High Street.
Alexandru Chirila, 34, had just withdrawn £500 from an account in the name of Daniel Ruso when he was approached by officers on June 13 2012, said David Chrimes, prosecuting.
A subsequent investigation linked Chirila to the "laundering" of £200,000 for a gang of fraudsters over a two year period.
A search of the defendant’s house uncovered an "Aladdin’s cave" of false documents including Romanian identity cards and passports and Portuguese identity documents with false names but bearing the defendant's photo.
At St Albans Crown Court on Friday January 25 Chirila plead guilty to fraud, possessing articles for use in fraud, possessing an identity document with improper intention, possessing a false identity document, possessing criminal property in the shape of £3,730 in cash and money laundering.
Mr Chrimes said Chirila had been of interest to Bedfordshire police who, for some time, had been investigating an eBay scam which relied on fraudulent bank accounts being set up across the county.
Mr Chrimes explained how the gang "hijacked" high-value eBay transactions and then instructed them to pay the money into the fraudulent accounts that had been set up.
Chirila's role had been to open accounts and withdraw money get it to the gang's bosses. He in turn would be paid for his assistance.
Bedfordshire detectives estimated that in a two year period up to June of last year, just over £200,000 had passed through the accounts and been withdrawn as part of the scam.
Mr Chrimes said "Money was withdrawn in cash and never seen again."
The court was told that Chirila had come to the UK to work as a painter and decorator so that he could send money back to Romania and pay for medical care for his sick father. However, he had lost his job and had been tempted into criminal activities by others.
Passing sentence, Judge Steven Gullick said: "It came to light when you were seen in Watford High Street acting suspiciously after you had just withdrawn £500 using false ID."
Chirila, 34, from Linden Avenue in Wembley, was jailed for 27 months.