Golders Green crime gang admit £450,000 eBay auction scam

Members of the gang from top left clockwise: Christian Calistrache, Mihai Cercerlaru, Florin Drechic

Members of the gang from top left clockwise: Christian Calistrache, Mihai Cercerlaru, Florin Drechichi, Madalin Popescu pictures: City of London Police - Credit: Archant

Members of a Golders Green gang who laundered nearly £450,000 in cash from an “industrial sized” internet auction scam are facing jail.

Roxanna Trusca

Roxanna Trusca

The gang of Romanians offered non-existent cars, vans and caravans for sale on eBay and other auction websites, the Old Bailey heard.

The adverts were linked to fraudulent bank accounts set up using false documents by hundreds of other Romanians the gang brought over to the UK for a few days.

Soon after the prospective buyers had transferred the money, the funds were removed and all lines of communication were cut.

Prosecutor Stephen Hooper said: “This was a sophisticated internet fraud using fake eBay pages.”

False ID documents for the bank accounts and texts about the movement of money were found at a “fake identity making factory” in Finchley Road, near Golders Green.

Roxanna Trusca, 28, Madalin Popescu, 34, Florin Drechichi, 25, Mihai Cercerlaru, 35, and Christian Calistrache, 31, are due to be sentenced on Thursday for their part in the scam.

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The court heard more than £450,000 was washed through accounts, controlled primarily by Popescu who had a key to the Finchley Road address.

Drechici, of Garrick Avenue, Golders Green, and Popescu, of Horseshoe Lane, Watford, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to money launder between June 2014 and September 2015.

Cercerlaru, of Woodstock Avenue, Golders Green, Calistrache, of Wykeham Road, Hendon, and Trusca, of no fixed abode all admitted conspiracy to money launder in November last year.

A second charge of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation was left on file for all defendants.

Det Insp Matt Mountford, from the London Regional Fraud Team which investigated the scam and raided the Finchley Road address, said: ‘This criminal gang committed online auction fraud on an industrial scale and then used fake identities and money mules shipped in from abroad to launder the millions of pounds they had stolen from thousands of innocent people.”

If you were you a victim of this scam contact the Ham&High Newsdesk on 0207 433 0123