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Post Info TOPIC: EBAY LOVES, PROFITS FROM, AND SUPPORTS CRIME WORLDWIDE:


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RE: EBAY LOVES, PROFITS FROM, AND SUPPORTS CRIME WORLDWIDE:
 


TSA under scrutiny after convicted agent blows whistle on thefts


The US Transportation Safety Administration says 381 officers have been fired for theft since 2003, 11 so far this year. And one convicted officer says a culture of indifference allows employees to steal from passengers without fear of getting caught.

Pythias Brown, a former TSA agent at Newark's Liberty International Airport admitshe stole more than $800,000 worth of items from luggage and at security checkpoints over a four year period. He tells ABC News, "It was very convenient to steal." "It became so easy, I got complacent."

Brown often worked alone, screening luggage behind the ticket counters and sayshe was told when the surveillance cameras to prevent theft weren't working and was never asked about suspicious behavior. He says he would often read the x-rays to find out which bags had the most valuable items inside.

Brown says his crime spree only ended when he tried to sell a camera on eBay, that he stole from the luggage of a CNN producer but forgot to remove all the CNN stickers. When he was arrested, he had about 80 cameras, video games and computers on his personal eBay page

In a blog post, the agency says it has a "zero-tolerance policy for theft," adding ,"We are well too aware of how the actions of a few can influence the perception the public has of our agency. It's truly a shame, because the majority of our workforce meets the expectations set forth to them; integrity, professionalism and hard work." The blog post points out that the 381 officers charged since 2003 "represents less than 1/2 of one percent (0.4%) of officers that have been employed by the agency."

But Rep. John Mica, chairman of the House Transportation Committee saysthe TSA fails to do proper background checks on personnel hired to handle security screening, adding, "TSA is probably the worst personnel manager that we have in the entire federal government." "It is an outrage to the public and, actually, to our aviation security system."

ABC News also has video of a TSA officer allegedly taking an iPad that was left behind on purpose, as part of a sting operation, at the Orlando airport.

The network also set up a Facebook page, Your TSA Experiences, asking people to talk about their experiences with the TSA, and in its first day has received over 160 responses from people telling about items they had stolen and how their theft complaints were ignored by the administration. What about you, have you ever had anything go missing during your travels?

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/333809#ixzz2934yccEu



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Second Swiss Army employee charged with stealing watches from Monroe warehouse

(mugshots at link)

Written by Brad Durrell
Tuesday, 02 October 2012 13:45

A third individual has been arrested for allegedly stealing wrist watches from the Victorinox/Swiss Army warehouse in Monroe.

The new suspect was a company employee but her alleged thefts were taking place separately from two men who recently were arrested for their role in stealing about $1 million of watches from the company, police said.

Linda Thanassi, 51, of 8 Tahmore Place, Shelton, was charged Oct. 1 with first-degree larceny. Bond was $30,000.

Monroe Police Lt. Keith White said Thanassi, an executive assistant at the company, was shipping the stolen watches through the Swiss Army mail system to someone in Texas.

 

Police: Appears she stole about 120 watches

Thanassi allegedly sent about 20 packages containing watches that weighed a total of 120 pounds from August 2010 to October 2011. Police said each watch weighs about 1 pound with packaging, so it is presumed about 120 watches may have been involved. No dollar amount was available on the estimated value of the stolen watches. In Connecticut, first-degree larceny involves the theft of $20,000 or more.

Police became suspicious because of the excessive number of packages being sent in the employee's name through the company mailroom. "She was sending an unusual number of watches to Texas," White said.

The stolen watches were being shipped to the same Texas buyer who was buying the stolen watches from the two other suspects, although the two cases appear to have no other connection, according to White. He said the buyer would resell the watches through an eBay account.

One of the two men charged earlier also was a Swiss Army employee.

The Monroe Police Department's investigation into theft at the Victorinox/Swiss Army facility now is closed, White said, but at least one other arrest is pending involving a Connecticut suspect. He said no arrests are expected in Texas in the case.

...continues...



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Police: Serial Shoplifting Suspect Sold Items Online

By Ellen Goldberg
NBCDFW.com

updated 10/10/2012 2:17:26 AM ET

Police say they have arrested a man believed to be the serial shoplifter known as "Mr. Sandals" to security guards across Dallas-Fort Worth.

Fort Worth police said Michael Fox, 44, stole tens of thousands of dollars in Frontline pet medication, Spanx shape wear and Wusthof knives. Police say Fox would resell the stolen products online.

Fox, who owns a carpet cleaning business in Rowlett, is charged with organized retail theft.

"There was nothing organized about it. I'll leave it at that," Fox told NBC 5 by phone.

Police say surveillance video from a Fort Worth PetSmart on June 3 shows him stuffing his cargo shorts with Frontline flea and tick medication, which retails for about $90 per box.

Investigators said Fox stole from 39 PetSmart stores -- some more than once -- over the past two years.

A PetSmart employee was able to get part of the license tag, and police traced it to a home in Rowlett last week.

Fort Worth police said Fox confessed to the crimes.

"He said business was slow, he had a mortgage, child support he had to pay and lots of expense for his business," Detective Frank Smith said.

Detectives said they have little sympathy for Fox. Investigators said he had nearly $300,000 in his PayPal account at the time of his arrest.

"He is doing this as his business," Smith said. "He is waking up in the morning to go and steal. Whenever we can go tie up a bunch of cases and get that dollar amount up, it's a pretty good feeling. It's a pretty big deal to us."

Fox is out of jail on bond. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.



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Sunnyvale: Youth soccer coach to be sentenced for abusing 13-year-old girl

Mark Gomez mgomez@mercurynews.com

Updated:   10/08/2012 06:07:59 PM PDT

Emanuele Fabrizio, 37, pleaded guilty in August to one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child and one count of lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14 as part of a deal with the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, according to prosecutor Marisa McKeown.

Fabrizio, who was arrested in March by Sunnyvale police, was originally charged with 12 felony counts related to the sexual abuse of the girl, a player on one of his soccer teams. Fabrizio was facing a maximum of 40 years in prison if convicted as charged, McKeown said.

Police say Fabrizio volunteered for the West Valley Youth Soccer League, which includes youth players from West San Jose, Campbell, and portions of Saratoga, Los Gatos and Cupertino. It's unclear where the girl lived.

Authorities said the relationship began in October 2011 and continued until March. The pair had sex on two occasions, kissed at least 20 times and engaged in other sexual activity multiple times, according to court records. They say he also possessed child pornography of the girl and had multiple inappropriate sexual conversations with her.

"I'm grateful he accepted responsibility" McKeown said.

The father of the 13-year-old girl contacted police March 13 about her relationship with Fabrizio, police said.

After their initial investigation, police obtained a search warrant for Fabrizio's apartment and an arrest warrant.

At the time of his arrest, Fabrizio's Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages indicated he worked as an interface engineer at PayPal and came to Silicon Valley from Italy. He is scheduled to be sentenced Monday.



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Youth Soccer Coach Sentenced to 15 Years for Sexual Child Abuse

Coach for West Valley Youth Soccer League and former PayPal engineer was accused of multiple counts of abuse of a minor.

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Ransom note helped nab Saanvi, grandmother's murderer Raghu

Philadelphia: Critical clues in the form of nicknames in the ransom note helped Upper Merion police crack the weeklong mystery of the murder of 61-year-old Satayrathi Venna, and the disappearance of her 10-month-old granddaughter Saanvi, who was also later on found dead.

The family was shocked on hearing the news of the infant's tragic killing by Raghunandan Yandamuri, who had demanded a ransom of $50,000. He believed the family had a lot of money.

The 26-year-old, who worked as a software specialist at eBay in the past, confessed to killing both the child and her grandmother, as he was desperate for money.

The arrest papers state that he took jewellery from the apartment and put it inside the suitcase with the child before leaving the apartment.

"On Friday, law enforcement announced the baby's body was discovered around 4:30 a.m. in an unused basement sauna at the Marquis Apartments in King of Prussia, where she and her father, Venkata Konda "Siva" Venna, and mother, Chenchu "Latha" Punuru, shared a sixth-floor apartment," a report published in www.philly.com said.

 

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Nurse Sentenced for Drug Sales Two Years After Cherokee Teen's Death

A federal judge is sending the former New York native to three years in prison for selling the drug on eBay.

A registered nurse was sentenced to 3 years in federal prison for selling a Valium-like "party drug" on eBay that was used by an Acworth teen who accidentally died in August 2010 after taking that drug and two others

Matthew Schroeder was sentenced today, Oct. 10, by U.S. Senior District Court Judge J. Owen Forrester for selling phenazepam, which is not approved for sale in the United States. While it is not listed as a controlled substance under federal drug laws, its sale for human consumption is prohibited in the United States except for research under strictly regulated terms. 

 Schroeder, 29, formerly of North Tonawanda, NY, was sentenced to 3 years in prison to be followed by 3 years of supervised release. He was convicted on Aug. upon pleading guilty to dispensing a misbranded prescription drug without a prescription and with intent to defraud and mislead.

.U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, "As a registered nurse and abuser of phenazepam, Schroeder was especially aware of the drug's dangers, yet he marketed the drug over eBay with no warnings and a fraudulent banner purporting to prohibit purchases by law enforcement and for any purpose other than research."

In August 2010, an 18-year-old man from Acworth, bought phenazepam from Schroeder's eBay site.  On the night of Aug. 24, 2010, the 18-year-old, his teenage friends and Kerrie Sue Chatham, 44, were partying at Chatham's home in Acworth, according to Yates and court records.  While watching movies, the 18-year-old mixed phenazepam in powder form with alcohol and then injected the mixture. The 18-year-old was also taking oxycodone pills given to him by Chatham. On the morning of Aug. 25, Cherokee County Sheriff's deputies responded to a 911 call from the Chatham home. They arrived to find the 18-year-old unconscious with a nose bloodied from an overdose. The teen, Chatham and two others were taken to the hospital. The 18-year-old later died, while the others were hospitalized and released. An autopsy concluded that his death was an accident caused by phenazepam, oxycodone and propoxyphene.

Chatham was arrested on state charges for distributing oxycodone, a Schedule II drug, and sentenced to serve three years in prison.  An investigation by Special Agents of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office traced the 18-year-old's purchase of phenazepam from Matthew Schroeder through eBay, email and PayPal records, along with information provided by the 18-year-old's parents. This evidence led the investigators to North Tonawanda, New York, where they discovered evidence of phenazepam sales in Schroeder's apartment and computer.  Schroeder admitted selling phenazepam to 18-year-old and others around the country.

Phenazepam is a benzodiazepine drug related to Valium but many times stronger.  Phenazepam magnifies the effects of other substances and can be fatal in small doses, especially when mixed with alcohol and other depressants.  Even snorting one line can cause an overdose.  Its delayed effect, which can take 2-3 hours, compounds its dangers by inviting the inexperienced user to re-dose. An overdose can quickly lead to loss of bowel control, respiratory depression, coma and death.  Side effects can last for days and sometimes weeks.



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Senior detective arrested after smartphones missing from police property lock-up are put up for sale on eBay

  • Det Sgt Peter Yeates, of Wimborne Minster, Dorset, is accused of taking goods from an internal police store
  • The missing goods are believed to be expensive smartphones
  • The 50-year-old detective is currently suspended after being arrested and questioned about the theft of missing property


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Alleged Trafficker of Counterfeit Automotive Accessories Indicted in Virginia

U.S. Department of Justice October 26, 2012
  • Office of Public Affairs (202) 514-2007/TDD (202)514-1888

WASHINGTON -

An alleged trafficker of counterfeit automotive accessories was indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia for allegedly participating in a conspiracy to sell to unsuspecting U.S. consumers more than $3 million worth of counterfeit General Motors (GM) and Bavarian Motor Works (BMW) automotive diagnostic devices and other automotive equipment, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department's Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Neil H. MacBride, Assistant Director Ronald T. Hosko of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division, and FBI Atlanta Special Agent In Charge Mark Guiliano announced today.

Katiran Lee, 39, an Indonesian national who allegedly sold the counterfeit goods while he was living in Duluth, Georgia, was charged with two counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods, four counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

According to the indictment, from August 2008 through December 2011, Lee conspired with manufacturers in the People's Republic of China (PRC) to sell automotive diagnostic devices bearing counterfeit GM and BMW marks to consumers in the United States. Such diagnostic devices are used by mechanics to identify problems with and assure the safety of motor vehicles employing electronic control systems. Lee allegedly advertised and sold the diagnostic devices on eBay and through his own website, and had the PRC manufacturers send counterfeit devices bearing unauthorized GM and BMW marks directly to his customers.

According to the indictment, during this same period, Lee also advertised and sold over 35,000 counterfeit programmed keys and key fobs for vehicles produced by GM, BMW, and numerous other automotive manufacturers, including Chrysler, Honda, Toyota, Audi, Mercedes Benz, Ford, Infiniti, Land Rover, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Peugeot, Renault, Subaru, Suzuki, and Volkswagen. Lee allegedly programmed the keys himself and affixed counterfeit marks to deceive consumers into believing that the products came from the respective automotive manufacturers.

In the indictment, the government is seeking forfeiture of computers, programming equipment and thousands of blank keys and trademarked automotive emblems recovered during a search of Lee's home on February 22, 2012, and the forfeiture of properties totaling up to $600,000.

The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Evan Williams of the Criminal Division's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Lindsay Kelly of the Eastern District of Virginia. It was investigated by the FBI's Intellectual Property Rights Unit as part of Operation Engine Newity, an international initiative targeting the production and distribution of counterfeit automotive products that impact the safety of the consumer, and FBI Atlanta.

The FBI is a full partner at the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center). The IPR Center is one of the U.S. government's key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy. The IPR Center uses the expertise of its 19 member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions, and conduct investigations related to intellectual property (IP) theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public's health and safety, the U.S. economy and the war fighters. To report IP theft or to learn more about the IPR Center, visit www.IPRCenter.gov.

The enforcement action announced today is one of many efforts being undertaken by the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property (IP Task Force). Attorney General Eric Holder created the IP Task Force to combat the growing number of domestic and international intellectual property crimes, protect the health and safety of American consumers, and safeguard the nation's economic security against those who seek to profit illegally from American creativity, innovation, and hard work. The IP Task Force seeks to strengthen intellectual property rights protection through heightened criminal and civil enforcement, greater coordination among federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, and increased focus on international enforcement efforts, including reinforcing relationships with key foreign partners and U.S. industry leaders. To learn more about the IP Task Force, go to www.justice.gov/dag/iptaskforce/.



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eBay antique dealer faked signatures of public figures

An antiques dealer accused of selling books signed with fake signatures of famous figures on eBay has been found guilty of some of the charges he faced.

Allan Formhals, 66, of Milford on Sea in Hampshire, was found guilty of eight counts of fraud and two of possessing articles for the use in fraud.

He was cleared of two counts of fraud and the jury was unable to reach a verdict on three further counts.

The charges related to signatures from the likes of Churchill and Picasso.

The three charges the jury failed to reach a decision on at Southampton Crown Court will lie on file, the judge said.

Mr Formhals was too ill to appear at court on Thursday.

A previous hearing in Southampton heard Formhals had found books at car boot sales and a recycling centre and added the fake signatures.

Expert's opinion

The court was told he lied to collectors, from as far afield as Texas in the US, about the provenance of the items.

Collector Kim Taylor-Smith bought 68 signed books and documents bearing Winston Churchill's fake signature for about £10,000, prosecutor Simon Edwards said.

Formhals told him the books came from the estate of the late Neville Duke, a famous World War II fighter pilot who lived in Milford on Sea.

However, in November 2010, Mr Taylor-Smith had some of his items examined by an expert in Churchill books and was told they were forgeries.

"A number of items were left with him overnight. He called Mr Taylor-Smith the next day with the ghastly news that each and every Churchill signature was a fake," Mr Edwards said.

Police also found the forged signatures of JRR Tolkien, Oliver Cromwell, Elizabeth I and Marie Antoinette at Formhal's home, the court was told.

Mr Edwards said that when interviewed Formhals told officers he got the books from Wimborne and Matchams car boot sales in Dorset, and denied being responsible for the signatures.

"He said he was not an expert on books and advertised them as signed, as opposed to signed by," he said.

"He believed them to be genuine but he did not advertise them for sale as such or guarantee them as such."

Mr Formhals denied all charges against him, which related activity between 2009 and 2011.



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Web Designer Sentenced to a Year in Prison for Unlawful Computer Intrustion Conviction

U.S. Attorney's Office November 07, 2012
  • District of New Mexico (505) 346-7274

ALBUQUERQUE - This afternoon, a federal judge sentenced Andrew West, 40, of Albuquerque, to a year and a day of imprisonment for his conviction for accessing a protected computer without authorization and with the intention of committing fraud and obtaining money. West will be on supervised release for three years after completing his prison sentence. West also was ordered to pay $5,085.07 in restitution to the victims of his crime.

U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that West entered a guilty plea to an information charging him with accessing a protected computer without authorization and with the intention of committing fraud and obtaining money in November 2011 in Bernalillo County, New Mexico.

According to West's plea agreement, in early November 2011, West executed a scheme to defraud an artist who routinely sold his artwork through online sales and collected payment using a PayPal account. West admitted that he obtained unauthorized access to the victim's computer system and caused the payments that were intended to go into the victim's PayPal account to be diverted to a PayPal account West created and controlled. Between November 6, 2011 and November 17, 2011, West unlawfully diverted more than $4,000 intended for the victim's account to an account that West controlled. Under the terms of the plea agreement, West will pay restitution to the victim of his crime.

The case was investigated by the FBI as part of its Cyber Criminal Computer Intrusion Initiative and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson.



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You have to wonder just what in the world is going on with paypal when things like the Zimmerman fundraising outrage and this below are happening, while users trying to sell personal widgets from their closets for relatively small amounts have their funds held thanks to admittedly faulty software. Look at the amounts cited. What's wrong with that picture?

Not to mention the random ebay/paypal user skin-crawling factor here. No telling who is on the other end of any transaction, or the backstory of any given item.

 

Woman faces charge after husband's death

Police believe she sold items bought with the money he allegedly stole to prepare for move to Montana

Posted: Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Lebanon woman faces a felony charge after selling items that were allegedly bought with stolen money by her deceased husband in an attempt to move to Montana.

Jennifer Marie Lonchar, 32, of Lebanon, is charged with a class C felony of receiving stolen property. Lonchar is being held in the Laclede County Jail in lieu of a $10,000 cash-or-surety bond, according to online court records.

On Sept. 27, the Lebanon Police Department began investigating the the theft of more than $80,000 from an 81-year-old Lebanon woman's bank account allegedly by her grandson, a 34-year-old Lebanon man. The grandson allegedly admitted to stealing about $60,000 from his grandmother's checking and savings accounts, according to a probable cause statement released by the Laclede County Prosecuting Attorney's office.

It was discovered by investigators that $82,872.39 had been fraudulently taken out of the account starting on Oct. 19, 2010, and going through September 2012. Payments were made to phone, Internet and satellite companies, as well as eBay, PayPal and Walmart. The eBay/PayPal withdrawals made up the lion's share of the money at $73,465.43 over more than 700 transactions. The man had access to the woman's funds because he was supposed to be paying her bills and making sure her accounts were in order, the statement said.

The man was found the next day dead of a reported self-inflicted gunshot wound on a rural property in the 28000 area of Peoria Drive, according to the statement.

During the initial interview with police on Oct. 1, Lonchar allegedly "provided multiple conflicting accounts of her whereabouts during the time frame surrounding and after (her husband's) death." She later allegedly admitted that she took computers and various coins from her husband's safe and sold them to raise money to move to Montana. The probable cause states that the officer doesn't believe Lonchar will appear in court because she has already sent her two children to Missoula, Mont., and has been "aggressively" seeking a probation release to relocate to that state.



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Pawn shop operators convicted in thefts

Final five of 21 prosecuted recommended for sentences ranging from one to 14 years

COVINGTON - An 18-month prosecution of 21 people operating a theft ring out of Northern Kentucky pawn shops has wrapped up with guilty verdicts against five of the defendants.

A jury took just under two hours Thursday to convict William Godsey, Jessica Burnett, and Janina Byrd of engaging in organized crime. Jurors recommended a 10-year sentence for each of them.

Randall Byrd was also convicted of engaging in organized crime, but jurors recommended a 14-year sentence. Joshua Megerle was convicted of receiving stolen property and received a recommended sentence of one year.

The defendants, all of whom had been free on bond, were taken into custody after the trial. They all worked, or had an ownership interest in, the pawnshops involved in the ring.

Kenton Circuit Judge Gregory Bartlett will sentence them Nov. 26 at the Kenton County Justice Center.

The other 16 arrested had previously pleaded guilty to a variety of theft- and receiving stolen property-related charges.

"It is a sad statement about our society when retailers have to factor the cost of shoplifting into the prices we all pay at their stores," Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders said. "This case was so cumbersome, it often felt like we were trying to move mountains, but it's important that those thieves and criminals who jack up prices ... to be held accountable."

Covington and Erlanger police incurred significant expenses for evidence storage and detectives' overtime.

"This is a big win for our office, the police, the retailers, and ultimately their customers," Sanders said.

During the three-week trial, assistant commonwealth's attorneys Casey Burns and Noah Wentz called 45 witnesses presented more than 500 pieces of evidence.

The case began in January 2011 when Covington Police detectives Brian Kane and Derek Uhl went to the Cash-In pawnshop at 2603 Madison Ave. to serve its owner, Charlie Wilson, with legal papers related to operating a business without a city occupational license.

After finding boxes and bags filled with brand new items, many with the price tags still attached, stacks of cash, and numerous firearms, the detectives got a search warrant. Over three days, detectives hauled away so much evidence that the police had to rent two portable storage units to store the evidence.

When the detectives began examining the pawnshop's business records, they realized there was a second Cash-In in Erlanger. Erlanger Police detectives Dan Fern, Jeff Miles and Kim Klare, along with the Covington detectives, began conducting covert surveillance on the store.

They learned the store was patronized by the same people day after day, Sanders said. Those customers were also selling the same sporting goods, teeth whitening strips, batteries, electric toothbrushes, phone equipment and other items detectives had recovered from the Covington store.

Detectives also got warrants for numerous PayPal and eBay accounts used by Cash-In employees to sell the stolen goods they had been purchasing from the group of professional shoplifters known as "boosters" who came to the stores on nearly a daily basis.

Wilson decided to avoid trial and pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property and prosecutors are recommending a 10-year sentence.



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Michigan man charged with selling counterfeit Microsoft software

The Justice Department said he sold counterfeit software bought from China and Singapore

By John Ribeiro

November 8, 2012

IDG News Service - A man from Michigan was arraigned in a U.S. federal court on Thursday on charges of mail fraud and selling counterfeit software worth over US$1.2 million that he purchased from China and Singapore, the U.S Department of Justice said Thursday.

Bruce Alan Edward, 48, of Atlanta, Michigan, was charged in an indictment returned on Oct. 24 and unsealed on Nov. 1 by the federal grand jury in Bay City, Michigan, DOJ said in a statement. He was arraigned on Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Edward allegedly distributed counterfeit copies of Office 2003 Professional and Windows XP Professional by selling copyrighted works on eBay and then using the U.S. Postal Service to deliver the counterfeit software, according to the indictment which charges Edward with five counts of criminal copyright infringement and one count of mail fraud.

The indictment charges Edward with making more than $140,000 between May 2008 and September 2010 by selling more than 2,500 copies of counterfeit Microsoft software that had a retail value of over $1.2 million.

 

If convicted of all counts in the indictment, Edward faces a maximum of 45 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines, DOJ said. He could also have to forfeit all criminal proceeds and counterfeit items and any property used to commit the alleged criminal activity, if convicted.

Software piracy has been on the decline in the U.S., but the commercial value of software piracy in the country still adds up to almost $10 billion, with 31 percent of computer users admitting to pirating software, Business Software Alliance, an antipiracy industry group, said in August. Since January, BSA settled a number of cases of unlicensed software including eight cases representing a value of more than $2.5 million, it said.A

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

^  No word what ebaY did with IT's share...



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Computer business busted for allegedly reselling stolen items on eBay

7NEWS_eBay_organized_crime_ring_20130323_480c.png

 

 

highlights: $1.3 million Organized crime ring.

"...the group will face charges under the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act...."

Details at link. ^

No word what ebaY & paypal did with their shares



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The net is closing on a serial fraudster who has conned dozens of eBay sellers by purchasing event tickets and then using PayPal systems to swipe the money back, leaving victims hundreds of pounds out of pocket. Going by the name of 'Elengo Papacostas', the mysterious buyer has been the subject of dozens of online complaints from disgruntled sellers who have sold tickets on eBay, only to see the money taken back through Paypal's system for disputed transactions. Paypal is the online payment system owned by eBay that processes a large proportion of transactions on the auction site. It has now closed the offending account and is working with the police and other agencies on further action.

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Who is 'Elengo Papacostas'? Net closing on eBay fraudster who scammed dozens of victims out of festival tickets



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Romanian Citizen Involved in Phishing Scheme Sentenced to Five Years in Federal Prison

U.S. Attorney's Office March 26, 2013

District of Connecticut (203) 821-3700

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Kimberly K. Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced that Laurentiu Cristian Busca, 28, a citizen of Romania, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Janet C. Hall in New Haven to 60 months of imprisonment for participating in an extensive Internet phishing scheme.

A phishing scheme uses the Internet to target large numbers of unwary individuals, using fraud and deceit to obtain private personal and financial information such as names, addresses, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, and Social Security numbers. Phishing schemes often work by sending out large numbers of counterfeit e-mail messages that are made to appear as if they originated from legitimate banks, financial institutions, or other companies. The fraudulent e-mail messages ask individuals to click on a hyperlink contained in the e-mail message, which would take the individual to a counterfeit site on the Internet that purports to be the Internet site of the particular bank, financial institution, or company. At the counterfeit Internet site, the individual is then asked to enter information such as the individual's name, address, and credit or debit card numbers.

According to court documents and statements made in court, in June 2005 a resident of Madison, Connecticut, contacted the FBI in New Haven about a suspicious e-mail that she had received that purported to be from Connecticut-based People's Bank. The e-mail stated that the recipient's online banking access profile had been locked and instructed the recipient to click on a link to a web page where the recipient could enter information to "unlock" his or her profile. The web page appeared to originate from People's Bank, but, as the investigation revealed, was actually hosted on a compromised computer in Minnesota. Any personal identifying and financial information provided by the individual would be sent by e-mail to individuals in Romania, or to a "collector" account, which was an e-mail account used to receive and collect the information obtained through phishing.

Busca and others were part of a loose-knit conspiracy of individuals from Craiova, Romania, and neighboring areas that shared files, tools, and stolen information obtained through phishing. The co-conspirators used and shared a number of collector accounts, which contained thousands of e-mail messages that contained credit or debit card numbers, expiration dates, CVV codes, PINs, and other personal identification information such as names, addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers. The co-conspirators then used the personal and financial information to access bank accounts and lines of credit and to withdraw funds without authorization, often from ATMs in Romania.

The investigation revealed that Busca was heavily involved in the phishing conspiracy between 2004 and 2006, and analysis of his e-mail accounts revealed that Busca possessed more than 10,000 stolen debit or credit card account numbers. In addition to trafficking the stolen information, Busca possessed and shared various tools used for phishing, including files used to create counterfeit Internet sites and software needed to produce counterfeit credit and debit cards.

In addition to People's Bank, financial institutions and companies targeted by the defendants included Citibank, Capital One, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Comerica Bank, Regions Bank, LaSalle Bank, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo & Co., eBay, and PayPal.

This seven-year investigation has resulted in criminal charges against 19 Romanian citizens. On January 18, 2007, a grand jury in New Haven returned an indictment charging seven defendants with various offenses stemming from this scheme. On November 10, 2010, a grand jury returned a second superseding indictment charging an additional 12 defendants, including Busca.

The first three defendants to face charges were extradited from Bulgaria, Croatia, and Canada. Following the ratification in 2010 of an amended treaty on mutual legal assistance between Romania and the United States, Busca and six other defendants were extradited from Romania. Busca was extradited in December 2011.

On November 20, 2012, Busca pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud. Eight of the other extradited defendants also have pleaded guilty, and one was convicted after trial in December 2012. Nine defendants are still being sought.

This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in New Haven, Connecticut.

U.S. Attorney Fein and Special Agent in Charge Mertz also acknowledged the critical assistance provided by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of International Affairs, the FBI Legal Attaché in Bucharest, Interpol, the Romanian National Police, and the United States Marshals Service.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Edward Chang and Sarala Nagala.



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St. Louis County man admits running eBay fraud

 

ST. LOUIS   -   A St. Louis County man pleaded guilty to federal charges Thursday and admitted running a scam in which he bilked eBay buyers in the United States and elsewhere who paid for the high-end cameras and other goods that he offered online.

Martin Bachert, 29, admitted defrauding eBay and ten buyers from June 2011 to January of 2012, costing them a total of between $30,000 and $70,000, his plea says.

Bachert used a series of aliases, including that of his sister and her husband, to offer cameras, camera lenses, an amplifier and an audio recorder through the online auction site, the plea says.

When the buyers, including one from Switzerland and one from Britain, sent a check or wired money, Bachert either sent nothing or mailed a package full of paper. Bachert's indictment says that he sent the paper to get a tracking number that would facilitate payment from the buyers.

Bachert was indicted in U.S. District Court in St. Louis in December on seven counts of mail and wire fraud. He could face between 12 and 30 months in prison at his June 13 sentencing under federal sentencing guidelines.

Reached by phone, Bachert lawyer Marc Johnson declined to comment. 

Robert Patrick covers federal courts and federal law enforcement for the Post-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter: @rxpatrick.



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Stolen Buffalo Bills autographed football found on eBay, suspect arrested in Tulsa burglary spree

By: Casey Roebuck

TULSA - A burglary victim struck back and helped take down the burglars who police believe victimized their home and then tried to sell the loot online.

"We have lived here for 15 years and nothing has ever happened," said Teresa Collins.

Teresa Collins and her children remain shaken after thieves burglarized their cars and a building behind their home last week.

They got away with her 8-year old son's bike, some sunglasses and an autographed football the Collins' have owned for 20 years. The ball is signed by 10 former Buffalo Bills players who played in the Super Bowl.

Thinking there was little chance of ever getting it back, Teresa kept an eye on ebay on the off chance the thieves would try and sell the football online. Then a few days ago, she found it for sale.
    
"It was actually listed in Tulsa. So when I saw it I was so excited!," says Collins. "I was like okay, I've got to call the police."

Burglary detective BJ Bennett used Teresa's eBay account to communicate with the seller. He set a meeting to buy the football in person for $250.

The bust happened on Wednesday.

"She actually brought the football inside the business. We talked for a little while longer. And I said 'all right, I know everything I need to know. I'm det. BJ Bennett with the Tulsa Police Department. And you're under arrest,'" he said. 

Brooke Pendlay was arrested for knowingly concealing stolen property.
    
She was also wanted for selling stolen property from other burglaries at area pawn shops and using stolen credit cards. She will be likely charged with three cases.

But Bennett believes she and another man are responsible for a string of midtown Tulsa burglaries.

"We are doing follow-ups," Bennett said. "But I've linked her to about 15."

Teresa is relieved to have the football back. But more importantly, she says the arrest is helping restore her son's sense of security.

"So it was great for him to see that bad guys really do get caught," Collins said. "That was our big thing."    

Police say this case is still open and more arrests are expected. If you can help, call Crime Stoppers at 918-596-COPS.



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Near-victim: Accused cheat is back on eBay

By JOHN BARRY
The Bulletin
Posted Apr 01, 2013 @ 10:22 PM
Last update Apr 02, 2013 @ 05:31 PM
 

A Salem man accused of using eBay to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars buying and selling motorcycles and cars returned to the website last month, a Spokane, Wash., man said.

Roger Slater said he was lucky to avoid becoming a victim too when he sold Rance Carli a motorcycle on eBay in August, two years after Carli was first arrested in September 2010.

It was the same motorcycle that was sold last month on eBay. Slater said it was advertised using Slater's photos showing the motorcycle with Washington license plates and with the same mileage it had when Carli bought it.

The transaction was legitimate, Slater said. The buyer was the American Police Motorcycle Museum in Meredith, N.H. Slater said he contacted the museum and was told the motorcycle had indeed arrived there.

Carli is facing a total of six first-degree larceny charges and two second-degree larceny charges for allegedly bilking people on eBay. If convicted on all of them, he could face a maximum of 130 years in prison.

Carli also is facing lesser charges of second-degree forgery and third-degree identity theft. They could add a maximum of another 10 years to his sentence.

He is free on $650,000 bail. His bail was raised by $200,000 after an arrest in December when police said they found two more victims, and one of the first-degree larceny charges and one of the second-degree larceny charges were added.

Carli is due to make appearances Wednesday in New London and Norwich Superior Courts on all his cases.

"He's a total bandit," Slater said about Carli.

Slater said Carli agreed to pay him $12,000 for his 1985 Norton Interpol 2, a motorcycle used for police escort duty in London. Slater had brought it from England and restored it.

Slater said he held the bike until his bank advised him that a wire transfer for the purchase price had been received. Then he shipped it east to Salem.

Three days later, Slater said, the bank called him to tell him the wire transaction was fraudulent.

Slater said luckily for him, the motorcycle was still traveling across the country and had gotten as far as Columbus, Ohio. But unluckily for him, the transport company refused to ship it back, telling him Carli was its customer and he wanted it delivered.

Carli, meanwhile, repeatedly promised Slater he would fix whatever mistake had been made and send the money he owed, but the promised money failed to arrive, Slater said.

 

continues...



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Identity Thieves Remain Active, Police Say

Recent Lower Macungie reported crimes include thieves opening credit cards to make fraudulent purchases and another filing a phony tax return.

 

Access device fraud. Identity theft. Fraud.

Call it what you will.

Unfortunately, the illegal practice is alive and well, as evidenced by several recent incidents in Lower Macungie Township alone, according to state police at Fogelsville.

- Kristopher Michael Azzaro of the 8000 block of Mountain Road reported that several purchases were made March 4 and 5 using his credit card, police said. The thief also used Azzaro's personal information to open a line of credit through PayPal, making several additional fraudulent purchases. No value was given for the purchases.

 

more at link ^



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see link for more...

FBI says Sacramento crew stole 17,000 items and sold them on eBay

6:10 PM, Apr 10, 2013

SACRAMENTO, CA - The FBI said a Sacramento-based shoplifting crew stole more than 17,000 items from retailers over the past four years and sold the merchandise on eBay for more than $3 million.

The long-running criminal enterprise came to light last fall when an REI employee noticed dozens of items stolen from REI listed for sale by a single eBay seller.

A criminal complaint, unsealed Wednesday, identified the eBay seller as John Judah Young, 32, of Sacramento.

Six others are named in the complaint, including the alleged ringleader, Jason Samuel Schroeder, 33, of Sacramento.

The 42-page complaint offers multiple examples of brazen thefts.

During the course of the investigation, agents trailing Schroeder in December said they watched him remove security tags from two wireless speakers valued at $450 and put the speakers under his sweatshirt at a Best Buy store in Pleasant Hill.

The FBI said a $1,200 amplifier listed on the eBay account in January was stolen from the Guitar Center in Sacramento.

Surveillance video showed Schroeder had been in the store three days before the amp appeared on eBay, according to the complaint.

Others named in the complaint:

Joshua Roy Payne, 27, of Vacaville
Maribel Martinez, 27, of Sacramento
Kirk Arthell Sanderson, 34, of Walnut Creek
David Reed, 26, of Santa Barbara
Andrea Lynn Turner, 31, of Roseville

All but Turner have been arrested for their alleged role in the shoplifting ring.

As the suspected ringleader, Schroeder was the only one of the defendants ordered held without bail because prosecutors believe he's a flight risk.

By George Warren, GWarren@news10.net



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Items posted on eBay with receipt displayed

 

SAN DIEGO - A Point Loma woman was frustrated when she found her stolen jewelry online and claims neither the San Diego Police Department nor eBay was doing anything to catch the crook.

Sarah Endemann called 10News several days after the theft to tell her story.

 

..."I logged on to eBay and just did a little search for Tiffany lapis and sure enough, the bracelet came up and then I went to the seller's storefront and saw they had another item for sale and it was the earrings," she said...

 

(full report with video at link ^ )



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Syracuse man arrested for selling stolen goods from his employer

 

A Syracuse man was arrested after a five month long investigation which found he sold stolen items from his employer on Ebay....

Click through for the mugshot and more ^

No word whether he's a powerseller/ Top Rated Seller or what ebay did with their share.



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Hello-

I am new to the board but not the subject. I work in the field of Loss Prevention/asset protection. I read some of the postings and I am not sure if there is room for open discussion based on the reality of what those in the field see or if this is just a bash board. I will give the benefit of the doubt and assume discussion is possible. I have worked with the the PayPal and eBay folks regarding online issues. If you made this statement 10years ago, it would have carried more weight not because it is accurate but that they did not get the message out.

A review of basic listings and pp fees collected may help people understand that it is not the interest of eBay Inc. to support crime or profit from it. Criminal listings do not profit ebay just criminals. Criminals keep/spend their spoils until they are caught. eBay works with retailers to investigate and prosecute criminals. As with any crime, the courts will require the defendant to pay restitiution, and will seize any funds found using a seizure warrant. Pay Pal information is used to document the losses which in turn is used to pay the victim in the form of restitiution.  As an investigator this helpful and valuable when in court.

If everyone is referring to fees check out the fees calculator to understand - eBay fee calculator http://www.ecommercebytes.com/cab/tools/calcs/ebay_fee_calculator and see what "profits" are gained by eBay Inc on a criminal seller. While you are there check out the Amazon fee calculator:http://www.ecommercebytes.com/cab/tools/calcs/amazon_fee_calculator to see how much Amazon "makes" on the same criminal seller. 

Is it worth pennies on the dollar to have criminals selling on eBay and Amazon? It hurts both brands in PR and negative press. It hurts honest sellers which costs revenue and it ties up resources to handle it. I think not. It makes a great headling but in reality its a hassle for them but as an investigator it makes things easier for me if they use eBay or Amazon.  There is a record of what they sold, how much they collected and allows me to obtain warrants to nail them. In the old days we searched newspapers and classifieds now I can go to Amazon etc type in my missing product and vola.. One last comment- in many of these aritcles announcing the capture of the bad guys.  they were caught and prosecuted by eBay investigators working with retailers. 

 



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Hello.

Is it still just pennies on the dollar when it's millions upon millions of dollars?

Maybe you can go through this thread topic, calculate the total and let us know what the fees ebay-pal collected were? Bear in mind what's posted here is a tiny fraction what's been published on the web.



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Three Members of International Cyber Fraud Ring Extradited from Romania to the United States

U.S. Attorney's Office May 02, 2013
  • Eastern District of New York (718) 254-7000

Romanian nationals Cristea Mircea, Ion Pieptea, and Nicolae Simion will make their first appearance before United States District Judge Edward R. Korman later today following their extradition to the United States from Romania. The defendants are charged with participating in a sophisticated multi-million-dollar cyber fraud scheme that targeted consumers on U.S.-based Internet marketplace websites such as eBay.com. Their extradition followed a coordinated international takedown in December 2012, during which law enforcement officials in Romania, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, and Canada, acting at the request of the United States, arrested six Romanian nationals, including Mircea, Pieptea and Simion. The Bucharest Appeals Court ordered the extraditions of Mircea, Pieptea, and Simion on February 2, 2013. The defendants were subsequently transported to the Eastern District of New York and arraigned on March 27, 2013.

The extraditions were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and George C. Venizelos, Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office

As alleged in the indictment, the defendants and their co-conspirators saturated Internet marketplace websites, such as eBay.com, Cars.com, AutoTrader.com, and CycleTrader.com, with detailed advertisements for cars, motorcycles, boats, and other high-value items generally priced in the $10,000 to $45,000 range. Unbeknownst to the buyers, however, the merchandise did not exist. The so-called sellers corresponded with the victim buyers by e-mail, sending fraudulent certificates of title and other information designed to lure the victims into parting with their money. Sometimes, they pretended to sell cars from non-existent auto dealerships in the United States and even created phony websites for these fictitious dealerships.

The indictment further describes how, after the purported sellers reached an agreement with the victim buyers, they would often e-mail them invoices purporting to be from Amazon Payments, PayPal, or other online payment services, with wire transfer instructions. However, these invoices were also fraudulent - the members of the conspiracy used counterfeit service marks in designing the invoices so that they would appear identical to communications from legitimate payment services. The fraudulent invoices directed the buyers to send money to American bank accounts that had been opened by foreign nationals in the United States, known as "arrows." Finally, the arrows would collect the illicit proceeds and send them to the defendants in Europe by wire transfer and other methods. For example, the arrows forwarded defendant Pieptea $18,000 cash in fraud proceeds hidden inside hollowed-out audio speakers.

According to court filings, the defendants and their co-conspirators allegedly defrauded their victims of at least $2 million during the course of the conspiracy. Notwithstanding the scope of the fraud, however, one of the co-conspirators boasted, in a recorded conversation, that "criminals will not be extradited from Romania to the U.S.A. ...[I]t will never happen."

Each defendant is charged with conspiracy to commit substantives offenses against the United States, wire fraud, and money laundering. The defendants face a maximum sentence of 20 years' imprisonment on each count of conviction.

"These three defendants allegedly reached across the globe to defraud Americans, pretending to be legitimate online vendors and payment providers. In reality, they were con men with a computer. The defendants' extraditions to the United States should make clear that our efforts to protect Internet consumers do not stop at our borders," stated United States Attorney Lynch. "Thanks to our strong international partnerships, the notion that cybercriminals will never be extradited to the United States is merely a criminal's fantasy." Ms. Lynch extended her grateful appreciation to the FBI for its assistance.

The Romanian government, particularly the Ministry of Justice, the Romanian Internal Intelligence Service, and the Directorate for Combating Organized Crime, provided significant assistance and support during the investigation, arrest, and extradition of the defendants. The Department of Justice's Office of International Affairs worked with its counterparts in Romania to effect the extraditions, and the U.S. Marshals Service coordinated and transported the defendants to the United States.

The government's case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Cristina Posa, Nadia Shihata, and Claire Kedeshian and Trial Attorney Carol Sipperly of the Criminal Division's Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Section.

The charges against the defendants are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Defendants:
Cristea Mircea, age 30, Romania
Ion Pieptea, age 36, Romania
Nicolae Simion, age 37, Romania

 

 

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

Edit to add: No word on whether the victims snagged on ebay were covered by Devin Wenig's prideful "rock solid gaurantee"



-- Edited by budnonymous on Friday 3rd of May 2013 01:08:11 AM

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Deputies: Bookkeeper stole more than $100,000 from employer

Dan Sullivan, Times Staff Writer

Thursday, May 2, 2013 10:09pm

SEMINOLE - About three years ago, Charles Emmerson needed a bookkeeper and front desk manager for the local office of his company, SeatsAndChairs.com. Among the dozen or so people who applied for the job, Kristina Melvin stood out.

She was smart, professional and could deal with customers, negotiate with vendors and make sure everybody got their money.

The company didn't do a background check before hiring her. Now Emmerson wishes it had.

Melvin, 45, was arrested late Wednesday on a charge of grand theft after an investigation revealed she stole more than $100,000 from the company, Pinellas sheriff's officials said.

She used some of the stolen funds to pay restitution for a 2008 criminal case in which she pleaded guilty to doing the same thing, officials said.

Detectives say Melvin falsified payroll records for Emmerson's company, which refinishes and sells old theater chairs, and set up a PayPal account to funnel money to her bank account.

Emmerson said Melvin had seemed like a good employee. He had taken her out to lunch a few times. They got to know each other over sushi.

She was married and had kids, two in college, he recalled. She bought show horses and competed in equestrian shows.

Despite her affability, there was something off about Melvin, Emmerson said. Other people told him so, too, but he could never put his finger on what it was.

He said he figured it out in January 2012. About that time, Emmerson's ex-wife gave up her stake in the company, leaving him as the sole owner and operator.

Faced with hard times and declining business due to the economic recession, Emmerson wanted to examine the company's finances. He asked Melvin for passwords to their PayPal and bank accounts.

"She wouldn't give them up," he said. "So I knew something was wrong."

Emmerson broke into the computer server and changed the passwords on all the company accounts. When he finally got a look at the financial records, the theft was obvious, he said.

He took his findings to the Sheriff's Office, which later opened an investigation.

Melvin had created a fictitious PayPal account with a business name that resembled one of the company's long-term vendors, detectives said. That account was linked to her bank account.

Through PayPal, Melvin sent invoices to SeatsAndChairs.com, deputies said. She then took money from the company bank account and transferred it to the fake business account via PayPal. About $98,000 eventually landed in Melvin's personal account, deputies said.

She spent about $4,000 of it to pay restitution in her previous conviction, for which she was serving a 10-year probation sentence. Details of that case, which was investigated in 2008 by Pinellas Park police, were unavailable late Thursday.

In her time with SeatsAndChairs.com, Melvin also handled employee payroll records, which she altered to give herself $5,600 as a "stipend," deputies said. Detectives also found records showing that she used a company credit card to pay more than $800 to a Venice company that ran a horse show in which she participated.

All told, authorities said, Melvin embezzled $105,040 from Emmerson's business.

Shortly after discovering the fraudulent activity, Emmerson let Melvin go. He told her the company was downsizing and he couldn't afford to have her on staff anymore. He didn't tell her what he had found.

Melvin remained in jail Thursday on $50,000 bail.

The arrest came as welcome news, but it does nothing to relieve the desperate financial burden with which Emmerson continues to struggle.

The company is close to bankruptcy, he said. He has a mountain of debt. They are a long way from when they started 10 years ago, when they raked in as much as $100,000 a month. Now, he said, he doesn't see the business surviving.

Despite it all, Emmerson says he would forgive Melvin if she asked for it.

But, he says, "I doubt I'll ever get any of the money back."



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Nursery thieves 'put stolen toys on eBay'

By Paul Cassell
April 30, 2013

Staff at a nursery raided by thieves were shocked after the stolen items appeared to be on sale on eBay.

 

Youngsters were left devastated after play equipment including a playgym, nature playhouse and activity tube slide were stolen from Stepping Stones Pre-school in Dunsfold Road, Tilehurst, last month.

...continues with screencapture and more...



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Work thief stole items and sold them on eBay

Saturday, May 04, 2013

A WAREHOUSE manager stole thousands of pounds worth of stock from his employer and then sold it on eBay.

Terrance Jones, aged 49, abused his position at Jones and Shufflebottom by stealing £18,209.50 worth of plumbing supplies between January 2007 and October 2010.

toke-on-Trent Crown Court heard Jones, who had worked for the company since 1986, was in charge of all the firm's deliveries.

But in 2010 the company became aware items of stock were going missing.

David Bennett, prosecuting, said: "All staff were made aware and asked to be vigilant.

"The company discovered an item of stock was inside a bag belonging to the defendant. He was allowed to take that item home with him. They then commenced an investigation, which involved looking on the eBay website. They discovered only one sale for a similar item in Stoke-on-Trent with an eBay user which matched the name and date of birth of the defendant."

Jones admitted his offending and lost his job.

The defendant, of Milton Road, Sneyd Green, pleaded guilty to theft.

Nicola Bell, mitigating, said Jones is a very quiet, unassuming man who would have been the least suspected.

She said the married father-of-two did not steal to fund any extravagance.

She said: "This was simply a family getting by. No suspicion was cast on anyone else."

Judge Paul Glenn sentenced Jones to 16 months in prison, suspended for two years, with 300 hours unpaid work.

He told Jones: "You repeatedly sold property belonging to your employers.

"You became greedy or unable to tailor your lifestyle to a decrease of income when your wife lost her employment and you were put on short-time working.

"Smaller items were secreted in your bag and you claimed some items had never been delivered to cover your tracks.

"The loss to the company was over £18,000. I accept your profit was probably significantly less."

Judge Glenn added: "The offences commenced when you were subject to some financial pressure. But when finances improved you continued to steal. As you admitted to the police: 'It was easy money'."

The firm has branches in Stoke, Longton and Kingsley.

A proceeds of crime hearing will be held later this year.



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