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Romanian And 5 Americans Charged In $10M Hacking Fraud - 8/5/2004 5:32:37 AM   

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SANTA ANA, Calif. Aug. 5, 2004 — A Romanian man was indicted Wednesday by a grand jury that charged him and five Americans with a $10 million scheme to steal goods from a computer equipment distributor.
The indictment accuses Calin Mateias, 24, of Bucharest, with hacking into the online ordering system of Ingram Micro Inc. and posing as a legitimate customer to place more than 2,000 orders over four years.

Computers and equipment were shipped to Romania or to people in the United States who had been recruited in Internet chat rooms to send the equipment or the proceeds from its sale to Mateias, the indictment alleged.

"It's larger than your average computer hacking case. It's a lot more damage," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Wesley Hu.

Mateias, who was charged with conspiracy and 13 counts of mail fraud, is in Romania and is not in custody.

The U.S. attorney's office said in a statement that the Justice Department is working with Romanian authorities to "ensure Mateias is brought to justice, whether in Romania or the United States."

Also charged with mail fraud are Olufemi Tinubu, 21, and Tarion Finley, 20, of Atlanta; Valeriu Crisovan, 27, of Hallandale, Fla.; Jeremy Long, 28, of Richmond, Va.; and Warren Bailey, 21, of Anchorage, Alaska.

Each will be issued a summons to appear later this month in federal court in Los Angeles. The names of attorneys for the accused were not immediately known.

Authorities searched Mateias' home in Romania in April, but prosecutors declined to say what was found. They also would not say how they believe he hacked into the online ordering system of Ingram Micro, a wholesale computer and equipment company based in Santa Ana.

A spokeswoman for the company the world's largest computer equipment distributor, with $22.6 billion in sales last year did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Mateias, who faces a maximum 90 years in prison if convicted on all counts, has long been known as a computer hacker who uses the pseudonyms "Dr. Mengele" or "Metal." In 1997, be told a Romanian newspaper that he had hacked into the computers of the FBI and other government agencies.

An FBI spokeswoman said the agency had no evidence that he had gained entry into their computer systems.

Authorities allege that Mateias hacked into Ingram Micro's online ordering system in 1999. The company blocked shipments to Romania so he recruited Americans to accept the merchandise.

The company managed to intercept some of the goods but at least $6 million was lost, authorities said.

In a separate indictment unsealed Wednesday in Pittsburgh, Mateias is charged with arranging fraudulent shipments to co-conspirators in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Louisiana.

Source : The Associated Press
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