SAN JOSE (BCN) – A Romanian national has been indicted for bank fraud related to his alleged role in a scheme to defraud consumers with a fake automobile auction, federal prosecutors announced Thursday.

A federal grand jury indicted Ionut Ganea, 28, on three counts of bank fraud.

Ganea, who remains at large, is accused of defrauding 117 buyers out of nearly $2 million, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors said Ganea, who was last known to be in Romania, conspired to defraud consumers by posting fraudulent automobile auction advertisements on various websites.

After the victims “won” an auction and wired the payments to the seller’s bank account, the vehicles were never delivered.

Prosecutors said Ganea acted as a “money mule” in the scheme and collected the money to send it to other participants in the scheme.

He is accused of using fake identities to set up bank accounts in the United States to receive the funds from the fraudulent auctions and opened at least 74 bank accounts in eight banks across the country between 2019 and 2020.

He used fake names and fraudulent passports in opening the accounts, prosecutors said.

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