Latvian citizen detained in multi-million fraud case in cooperation with FBI

  • 2022-05-19
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Fulfilling an extradition request made by US authorities, the State Police on April 11 detained a Latvian citizen suspected of involvement in an international fraud and money-laundering scheme, LETA was told at the State Police. 

According to US court papers, a group of criminals operating the scheme had defrauded US citizens of more than USD 10 million (EUR 9.5 million).  US law enforcement authorities had been investigating the fraud and money-laundering case since 2016. 

Members of the criminal group, which includes residents of the US and Europe, had been placing adverts on websites like Craigslist and eBay, offering to sell cars, construction and agricultural equipment, as well as boats that actually did not belong to them. 

Potential buyers who answered the ads were asked to pay money into the criminals' bank accounts, from which it as withdrawn and transferred to the US. The buyers never received the goods they had ordered. 

Leaders of the gang recruited money mules from Eastern Europe who where sent to the US to open the bank accounts and withdraw the transferred money. 

Meanwhile, supervisors coordinated the criminal activities and provided instructions and fake documents necessary to open the bank accounts and withdraw money. 

The 29 years old Latvian participant of the criminal scheme was one of such supervisors, the investigation established. 

After receiving a legal assistance request from the US, the State Police conducted a search at the person's home and seized important evidence on the same day the person was arrested in accordance with the US extradition request. 

The person will soon be extradited to the US. The State Police conducted the search at the person's home with the participation of FBI officers. The evidence seized during the raid includes computer hardware, cellphones, notes, various bankcards and several SIM cards.