Thursday, November 22, 2012

Fraud: Hungarian woman guilty in international online marketplace fraud scheme

U.S. Department of Justice 
Office of Public Affairs

WASHINGTON—A Hungarian woman pleaded guilty today in Nashville, Tennessee, for her role in moving approximately $550,000 in illicit proceeds derived from an international online marketplace fraud scheme, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Jerry E. Martin for the Middle District of Tennessee.

Beatrix Boka, 34, of Hungary, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Aleta A. Trauger in the Middle District of Tennessee to one count of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud. Boka and co-conspirator Aleksandar Kunkin, also of Hungary, were charged in a one-count indictment by a federal grand jury in August 2012. Kunkin pleaded guilty on November 15, 2012.

Boka admitted in her plea hearing today that members of the conspiracy fraudulently listed vehicles for sale at online marketplaces such as eBay. When victims expressed interest in purchasing the vehicles, co-conspirators sent e-mails that directed victims to wire payments to certain bank accounts, and victims never received the vehicles for which they paid.

Boka further admitted that, from May to June 2012, she and Kunkin visited Bank of America branches in North Carolina and South Carolina and opened bank accounts under false identities, which were supported by fraudulent identity documents including counterfeit Hungarian passports. Boka pleaded guilty to opening 17 such accounts, each under a different name. In total, 36 victims sent approximately $550,102 to accounts opened by Boka and Kunkin. Boka admitted that she and Kunkin subsequently sent the bulk of the money to co-conspirators located abroad.

According to the criminal complaint affidavit, in June 2012, Boka and Kunkin traveled together to Madison, Tennessee, where Kunkin was apprehended as he attempted to open an account at a Bank of America branch using a Hungarian passport bearing an alias. Boka was subsequently apprehended in Kennesaw, Georgia, when she attempted to open an account at a Bank of America branch using a Hungarian passport bearing an alias.

Boka faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for February 21, 2013.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Byron M. Jones of the Middle District of Tennessee and Trial Attorney Mysti Degani of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section. The case is being investigated by the FBI, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, and the Cobb County, Georgia Sheriff’s Department.