Two international students from Vietnam are under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security on charges of identity theft and wire fraud.
The two Winona State University students, Tram Vo and Khoi Van, are alleged to have taken part in a criminal ring that defrauded ecommerce merchants using stolen credit card information and a network of ‘mules’ to transport the fraudulently purchased goods to Vietnam, according to affidavit signed in the case.
According to the affadavit, Vo and Van are associated with several PayPal accounts opened with stolen identities, and are also linked to a number of international wire transfers to the same beneficiaries in Vietnam. According to the affidavit, Vo and Van transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars from the illicit sales to accounts belonging to other identity theft victims. A Paypal account belonging to Nelly Eusse of Baltimore, Md. received a total of $102,000 in funds stemming from the sales of language learning software Rosetta Stone on online auction site eBay. An account belonging to Susan Higganbothom of Bemidji, Mn. received some $50,000 in funds also related the sales of the same software.
Rosetta Stone, in published reports, has confirmed that they been charged with a million dollars worth of credit charge backs due to the fraudulent sales, believed the be linked to the activities of Vo and Van. In addition, the scam involved the sales of video games, textbooks, and iTunes gift cards.
PayPal records indicate that Vo’s name and address are linked to 56 PayPal and 24 eBay accounts with funds received exceeding $247,000 in value. Van’s name is associated with 310 PayPal accounts and 157 eBay accounts which have received over $1,000,000 in funds.
The two are also linked to 32 accounts at financial institutions including Wells Fargo, Capital One, Eastwood, and HSBC. Around $800,000 in faudulent transactions, around $600,000 of which was ultimately transferred to Vietnam.