SYRACUSE, NY—United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian announced that a Syracuse federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Alexandru Turcan, 29, with wire fraud, false use of a passport, and aggravated identity theft in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, 1543 and 1028A. Turcan, originally from Chisinau, Moldova, is a lawful permanent resident of the United States. He was apprehended while entering the United States through Orlando, Florida.
The indictment alleges that Turcan conducted a scheme to defraud individuals who responded to advertisements listing vehicles on www.autotrader.com., a website that displays automobiles for sale. Two victims, in responding to an advertisement posted by Turcan, believed they were purchasing a 2007 Chevrolet Silverado and a 1968 Ford Shelby Mustang. The victims, citizens of Connecticut and Georgia, wired $17,900 and $21,000, respectively, to purchase the vehicles to a bank account established by Turcan in Syracuse, New York. Turcan opened the account under a false name using a counterfeited passport. After transferring the funds to Turcan’s bank account, the victims never received the vehicles they believed they had purchased.
If convicted of aggravated identity theft, Turcan faces a mandatory two-year term of imprisonment that would run concurrently with any term of imprisonment imposed for conviction of wire fraud and false use of a passport. If convicted of wire fraud, Turcan faces a 20-year maximum term of imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and an order of restitution compensating the victims for their losses. If convicted of false use of a passport, Turcan faces a 10 year maximum term of imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and an order of restitution.
The indictment is merely an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.