DA and Sheriff Assist Victim of E Bay Scam Recover Funds from Russian Mafia

Local law enforcement efforts resulted in the recovery of $11,200 in cash from a bank account suspected of belonging to international criminals associated with the Russian Mafia. Detective Scott Davis of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office received a summary of a report from a complainant (anonymous for safety reasons) regarding a fraudulent transaction on the internet auction site “E Bay.” The complainant purchased farming equipment through a seller on “E Bay” in February of this year and that the equipment was due to be delivered no later than March 5, 2010. Suspicion was aroused when the equipment failed to arrive. The complainant was contacted “E Bay” security and was informed that the transaction was fraudulent thereby resulting in the filing of a report with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.
Detective Davis verified the information in the report and learned that the “E Bay” sellers were engaged in a multi-million dollar scam. The proceeds of this theft and others from around the country were linked to an account which had recently been seized as a result of a criminal investigation. Detective Davis determined that the account was tied to members of the Russian Mafia and that those perpetuating this fraud were most likely international criminals not operating from the United States, and that all documentation regarding the account was linked to stolen passports.
After completing the investigation with the E Bay, the bank, and national law enforcement, Detective Davis contacted Claudia Laird with the District Attorney’s newly created Civil Litigation and White Collar Crime Division. Due to the international nature of the investigation and the possibility of funds being transferred, Laird and Davis prepared documents in an effort to seize the funds and return the cash to Montgomery County. Judge Edwards of the 9th District Court reviewed the documents and authorized the seizure of funds.
Within days of initiating the investigation Davis and Laird had recovered the complainant’s cash and returned it. Sheriff Tommy Gage said, “I am very pleased with the cooperative efforts between the Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office. Efforts like this pay dividends for victims of crime where funds could easily have been lost forever.”
District Attorney Brett Ligon said, “This case is a good example of the dangers of cyber crime and hopes that everyone will be cautious when conducting business on the internet because most cases do not end with recovery of property.”


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