The final defendant has been sentenced in an international fraud ring that bilked would-be car buyers of more than $2 million, according to U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey.
Senior U.S. District Judge Joseph M. Hood sentenced Eli Holley to three years in prison on March 9.
Holley was among 10 people charged in a scheme in which people used websites to offer non-existent vehicles for sale.
The conspirators operated under false business names and set up fake car-dealership websites for customers to contact. People in the U.S. took part in the scam with people from Eastern Europe, where it originated, according to court records.
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When someone responded to an ad, people involved in the conspiracy would negotiate a price, then instruct the victim to wire money for the vehicle.
U.S. members of the scam would pick up the money using fraudulent identification, keeping some but sending much of the proceeds overseas, according to court records and a release from Harvey's office.
The conspirators used banks in Lexington, Louisville and Indianapolis, among others, to facilitate the fraud, according to court records.
The conspiracy operated in Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, and Michigan.
Authorities identified more than 550 people who lost a total of more than $2 million, Harvey's office said.
Hood sentenced one leader of the scheme, Nicholas Corey Garner, to 20 years in prison. Garner recruited several members of the theft ring in the U.S, according to the release from Harvey.
A contact who opened accounts in Hungary to receive the stolen money, Petrica Octavian Stoian, was sentenced to eight years and one month in prison.
Others convicted in the case were Holley; Dwayne Hardy; Nathaniel Garner; Harold Smith; Brooks Sowell; Sabrina Carmichael; April Abrams; and Jelahni Williams.