December 3, 2009, 12:00 AM

Two men sentenced to prison terms for $1.2 million eBay scam

The men offered for sale expensive vehicles and boats they did not possess, then pocketed $1.2 million in payments from buyers, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Four other alleged participants in the scam remain at large.

Zak Stambor

Managing Editor

Two men, both Bulgarian nationals, have been sentenced to prison terms for advertising for sale on eBay expensive vehicles and boats they did not possess, then pocketing $1.2 million in payments from buyers, the U.S. Department of Justice disclosed today. Four other alleged participants in the scam remain at large.

The fraud occurred between approximately July 2005 and May 2006. When buyers expressed interest in the items offered, the perpetrators instructed them to wire payments through “eBay Secure Traders,” an entity with no connection to eBay Inc., the Justice Department says. The criminals then sent the money to bank accounts in Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Greece.

The Justice Department says Ivaylo Vasilev Pletnyov was sentenced Wednesday to four years in prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering and was ordered to pay $306,502 in restitution. Pletnyov pleaded guilty Jan. 15, the Justice Department says.

Nikolay Georgiev Minchev was sentenced to 30 months in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and ordered to pay $270,444 in restitution. He pleaded guilty Sept. 21, 2008, the Justice Department says.

The government originally brought charges in January 2008 against Pletnyov, Minchev and four other individuals. “The United States continues to work with foreign counterparts in Romania and Poland regarding the remaining defendants,” the Justice Department says.

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