The defendants and their co-conspirators allegedly used counterfeit service marks in designing the invoices so that they would appear identical to communications from legitimate payment services, the DOJ said. The fraudulent invoices directed the buyers to send money to U.S. bank accounts that had been opened by the arrows. The arrows collected the illicit proceeds and sent them to the defendants in Europe by wire transfer and other methods.
The DOJ will seek the defendants' extradition to the U.S., it said.
If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on the wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy counts, and 10 years in prison on the passport fraud conspiracy count.
Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.