Vehicle Scammer Arrested In Massachusetts
Romanian man conducted international scheme from Woburn hotel, says federal agent.
by Danielle Masterson, May 1, 2012
Please note the key phrase, “victims filed police reports with their local police departments.“ Law enforcement cannot react if victims do not report crime. Reporting crime protects the public.
A Romanian man, whose last known address was in Woburn, is now facing federal money laundering charges after an investigation by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.
Catalin Buzea, 31, of 300 Presidential Way (Marriot Residence Inn) in Woburn, will be criminally charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering after allegedly knowingly engaging in financial transactions that affected “interstate commerce and foreign commerce.” According to ICE Special Agent Timothy Costello, those transactions included wire fraud, mail fraud and passport fraud.
Agent Costello filed a criminal complaint against Buzea on April 26, which was accepted by United States Chief Magistrate Judge Leo Sorokin.
According to Agent Costello’s affadavit, Buzea allegedly used a fake name and fake Czech Republic passport to open a bank account in Melrose. In February, two wire transfers were put through to the bank account from North Carolina and Tennessee.
“Both [victims] filed police reports with their local police departments and gave a statement that they wired money for the purpose of purchasing a vehicle that had been advertised over the Internet, but neither had received the vehicle,” said Agent Costello.
Several withdrawals were made from the account in Revere, Arlington, Brookline, Cambridge, Brighton, Newton, Hingham and Canton.
According to federal authorities, video surveillance identifies Buzea as the man who opened the account in Melrose and withdrew money at the ATMs listed.
In March, Lexington Police responded to a Citizens Bank on Massachusetts Avenue in the town center, following a report from a bank employee indicating a person wanted for numerous bank-related frauds was at a customer service desk. Buzea was taken into custody by Lexington Police officers.
At the time of his arrest, Buzea had a fake Greek passport in his possession, as well as a Greek driver’s license and two cell phones.
According to Agent Costello, Buzea admitted to authorities his real name and implicated another Romanian man in the fraud scheme.
In Buzea’s hotel room, which he shared with the other Romanian man, authorities reported they found several fraudulent identification cards, including a Slovak Republic passport, a U.S. Visa and a Portuguese ID.