Two fraudsters who conned the public out of £1m have been ordered to pay back half a million pounds, as detectives continue to trace a suspect still wanted in connection with the case.

Maria Bilici, 33, of Hunters Ride, Bricket Wood, and Mihai Cirstoiu, 39, of Ray Lodge Road, Woodford, face extended sentences in jail if they do not pay back the money, as part of their involvement in a £1m scam.

Bilici and Cirstoiu were sentenced for their part in the scam which involved hundreds of fake adverts for non-existent goods and services being placed on legitimate websites such as eBay.

More than a hundred mule bank accounts were set up at high street banks to receive money from the fraud.

Cirstoiu masterminded the scam and was sentenced to six years in prison in February 2018.

Bilici was given a jail term of four years.

In total, five people were jailed for a total of 22 years.

Now, Bilici must sell her house and pay back £80,000 or serve an extra year in jail while Cirstoiu must pay back £413,050 or serve four more years in jail.

Cirstoiu was also required to sell his flat in London, forfeit £63,000 in cash seized by the police from the house, forfeit two safety deposit boxes, six designer watches, two diamond rings and two bars of gold bullion worth £57,000, and forfeit a total of £133,000 held in bank accounts.

The confiscated funds will be now paid to the many hundreds of victims of the fraud.

The new order was made at a hearing at Blackfriars Crown Court today.

Officers continue to appeal for information on the whereabouts of a man wanted in connection with the investigation.

Detectives are searching for Sebastian Ilie, 33, who has links to Romania.

Watford Observer:

Sebastian Ilie, pictured, is wanted by police

An EU wide warrant has been issued for Ilie’s arrest.

Anyone who has any information regarding Ilie's whereabouts should contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800555111 quoting crime reference number 5225186/17.