Three people who cheated 3,000 eBay customers out of thousands of pounds have been jailed.
The London-based trio, a Romanian couple and their accomplice, tricked eBay customers out of £300,000 for goods that were never delivered. The couple used up to 12 aliases and advertised products from cars to concert tickets
Nicolae Cretanu, 30, and his wife Adriana, 23 pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obtain property by deception and money laundering. They were jailed for three-and-a-half years and two-and-a-half years respectively, after money-transfer firm Western Union uncovered the fraud and alerted police.
George Titar, who collected the payments from money transfer shops, admitted the same charges and was also sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
eBay users who bid on the items advertised by the group, but failed to win the auctions in question, were offered a second chance to buy a similar item, outside of the eBay system. Customers were encouraged to send money via Western Union as quickly as possible in order to be sure of getting their goods.
The majority of the money was sent back to the gang's accomplices in Romania in what the police described as a well-planned and sophisticated fraud.