Duluth man arrested in intricate, national web scam

John Kennedy Muntean

John Kennedy Muntean

DULUTH -- A Duluth man accused of running an intricate online car shopping scam was detained late Tuesday, as more details about the nationwide, $100,000 scheme were revealed.

Gwinnett County Detention Center records show John Kennedy Muntean, 48, was booked into the jail on three counts of theft by deception at about 10:15 p.m. Tuesday. As of Wednesday afternoon, he had not posted the $33,600 bond necessary for his release.

Authorities believe Muntean conned at least eight victims from across the United States out of approximately $110,000 by using fraudulent webpages and postings meant to mimic those on the popular shopping site eBay. Duluth Police Detective Fran Foster provided a thorough description of the case this week via email.

According to Foster, the victims in the case were perusing eBay for vehicles on sale when they would come across a post by Muntean -- often under the alias "Martin Moore" -- that was actually copied from a real post on Craigslist, another popular online marketplace.

"The suspect would email his target with a link to the vehicle they were inquiring about," Foster said. "Once the target clicked on the hyperlink to the supposed eBay site, they were actually linking into the suspect's computer."

When the victims -- from states including Ohio, Illinois, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and California -- decided to buy the car in question, they were reportedly routed to a live chat site that "also had the appearance of an official eBay site," where they were instructed to wire funds to a third party.

Once the car didn't show, victims were allegedly told the wire transfer hadn't gone through and asked to send a second payment to a second bank.

Foster stressed that, "at no time was the victim in the actual eBay site once they responded to the email from the suspect."

Eight alleged victims were listed on initial incident report from Duluth police, but Foster said there were more victims that had "not been entered yet." The net losses exceeded $110,000 and she said she was still waiting on bank documents.

On his booking sheet, Muntean's occupation was listed only as "sales."


BurritoJones 2 years, 3 months ago

One of the quickest and easiest ways to determine if a website is on the level: look for their SSL certificate. If you look at the web address bar, most sites begin with http://. An encrypted website will begin with https:// . You can see an example of this on your bank or utility company websites.

That 's' in the URL means the website has a valid encryption certificate, which requires the website be reviewed by a reputable web security company. This guy's website would have failed immediately and been red flagged as a scam. Those certificates are extremely difficult to forge. The odds of a website having one and still being a threat are practically non-existent. If you do not see that 's', do not put in your password and certainly do not begin transferring money through that site.


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