It may seem like the wheels of justice turn slowly, but scammers are being
caught and convicted all the time! Here is a list of individuals who have been
indicted and scammers who have been convicted!
- Rover Car Parts Scam -
David Wardell who worked at a Land Rover Plant and his brother-in-law, Darren
Holloway ran a Land Rover parts scam. The Land Rover employee bought car parts that had been stolen from the company's Solihull plant at boot sales before selling them on eBay. Wardell (32), of
Cedar Drive, West Heath, Birmingham, pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to
handling stolen parts.
Holloway (40), of Fulbrook Close, Weoley Castle, also admitted handling the
parts and was given a community order with 200 hours of unpaid work.
- Flu Shots Scam - May 1, 2007 -
Iyad Abu El Hawa, 36, pleaded guilty in September and was sentenced to 4 years
in a flu shot scam. He was charged with health care fraud and drug
misbranding in connection with fake shots given during a health fair at the
Baytown refinery. El Hawa was a citizen of Palestine who came to the U.S. from Israel 13 years ago,
and will be deported after completing his sentence. His co-defendant, Martha
Denise Gonzales, also plead guilty last September. Instead of vaccine, the syringes were filled with sterile
water and marked with phony bar codes. The fake flu vaccine was injected into
more than 1,100 Exxon Mobil employees over two days in October 2005.
- Stock investment scam - Pump-and-Dump - John P. Tomkins is
accused of threatening harm to two mutual fund companies unless they bought
shares of Navarre Corp. and 3Com Corp. The alleged letter-writing scam was meant to persuade investment
companies to inflate the price of publicly-traded companies in which he had
invested. Had it worked, it could have netted the machinist an unknown profit.
- Mail Fraud / False debits - April 25, 2007 - The company,"NorCal
Kenneth Cervellin, 61, plead guilty to one count of mail fraud and his
son, Ronald Cervellin, plead guilty to one count of concealing knowledge of
a felony Tuesday in a scheme that
defrauded about 1,200 customers out of more than $200,000, authorities said.
They defrauded CSI customers by debiting $25 from their accounts without
their knowledge, the release states. If a customer complained, the money was
returned and the file marked so the account would not be debited again.
Kenneth Cervellin faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and Ronald
Cervellin faces up to three years in prison.
- College degree scam - April 12, 2007 - Police arrested
Professor Pumela Msweli-Mbanga (44), and ex-dean at the university of KwaZulu-Natal.
He is accused of accepting R16 150 ($ ?) for ensuring that a doctoral degree
was awarded to Nobulele Potswana (54). Potswana is currently a lecturer at
the university's Westville Campus. They are each charged with one count of
corruption and two alternative counts of corruption.
- Telemarketing scam - April 6, 2007 - A
Florida man plead not guilty in an alleged $12 million telemarketing scam.
Peter Porcelli II, 55, of Oldsmar, FL, was accused of scamming more than $12
million from U.S. consumers, who unwittingly signed up for bogus credit cards
He pleaded not guilty Thursday during his federal arraignment on 19 felony counts
and was freed on $1 million unsecured bond. Authorities say he defrauded or tried to
scam at least 165,000 Americans, many with poor credit histories, by offering
consumers a MasterCard credit card for a one-time processing fee ranging
from $160 to $500. The victims were then sent a "benefits package" consisting of offers that
were available for free to the public, along with other promotional
literature, general information on repairing credit, and an "acceptance
form" for a prepaid card that allow purchases up to a
set limit or up to the cash deposit backing the card; none of which are actual
- MySpace.com Spam King - MySpace has filed suit against Sanford Wallace,
the alleged "spam king" and his affiliated companies from
using MySpace, the social-networking
site. The suit, filed in Los Angeles, accuses Wallace of violating state and
federal laws including the federal Can-Spam Act and California's antispam and
MySpace says that Wallace used a phishing scam in October to fraudulently
access victim's MySpace profiles. He then (allegedly) created profiles, groups and forums
on MySpace, and spammed thousands of users with unwanted advertisements to send
victims to his Web sites.
Wallace has also been sued by the Federal Trade Commission and
companies including America Online and Concentric Network Corp. In May, Wallace
and his company Smartbot.net were ordered by a federal judge to pay
$4,089,500 in penalties.
- Ebay Automobile sales scam - The Monmouth County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has informed the Internet
Crime Complaint Center
(IC3) that Richard J. Gorman has been sentenced to five years in state
prison and ordered to pay restitution
in the amount of $2479.40. Complaints filed with IC3 alleged that Gorman
listed multiple vehicles on
EBay which he accepted money for and did not deliver.
- Romanian eBay Crime ring - More than twenty suspects have been indicted as the result of an ongoing,
multi-agency investigation into Romanian crime ring. Representatives from
the Chicago Field Office of the Federal Bureau Investigation
(FBI), the Chicago Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and
the Chicago Police Department announced the charges together on December 12th, 2006. Altogether, the defendants and others
allegedly illegally obtained more then $5 million dollars from victims in a
variety of schemes.
The majority of victims believed they were purchasing an item from the EBay
auction site. After
unsuccessfully bidding on items, they were told they were receiving a second
chance offer from the seller.
Victims then wired money one of the defendants who posed as the seller or
the seller’s agent. Investigators
believe the fraudulent solicitations originated from, and a substantial
portion of the proceeds were
transmitted to, unidentified co-schemers located outside the United States,
most believed to be in Romania. Most of the money was collected at Western Union locations in Chicago, where
many of the alleged
Other victims were sent an email from the crime ring informing them that
their EBay accounts would be
terminated if they didn’t reply back with their password and other account
information. They would then
use this information to take over the victim’s account and use it to rip off
other EBay users. EBay sellers
were victimized as well. The thieves would bid on an item but would not pay
through PayPal. Instead,
they would persuade the seller to put the money into a fake escrow account.
The seller would ship the
product and the escrow account would vanish.
Eight defendants were arrested in the Chicago area the day of the
announcement, five were already in
custody, one is expected to surrender later, and six are fugitives at this
time. Each of the defendants is
charged with one count of wire fraud. If convicted, they each face a maximum
penalty of twenty years in
prison and a $250,000 fine. The Court would also order restitution and
determine the appropriate sentence
to be imposed.
Pruette - In March of 2006 IC3 received notification that another perpetrator is
behind bars. Thanks to the diligence
of a lieutenant in Oconee County GA and the cooperation of the Chicago
Police Department, Steven
Pruette is facing at least five felony charges. Pruette allegedly sent the
scam victim, an Oconee County
resident, a fraudulent second chance offer posing as the original seller of
an item on EBay. After wiring the
money, the victim learned that EBay was in no way involved in the
transaction and he promptly filed a
complaint with the IC3. The complaint was forwarded to his local sheriff’s
department. After reviewing
the complaint, Lt. David Kilpatrick advised Western Union of the fraud.
Pruette, who had been using a
Miami, FL address, was nabbed when he entered a Western Union location in
Chicago, IL and attempted to
pick up the funds. Pruette is a Romanian national and is currently being
held by the Immigration and
Naturalization Service. He is believed to be part of a multi-state cell
which sends funds to Romania and
other countries to support terrorist efforts.
- Martin Haber - Analysts IC3 were pleased to learn that a lengthy and complex case had
finally been closed when Martin
Haber, the subject of numerous complaints over a two-year span, pled guilty
to federal charges of mail and
wire fraud. Haber was the owner and operator of a business named South Dixie
Rare Coins in Miami, FL.
Haber used the EBay auction site to offer collectibles and rare coins which
he never delivered. The initial
investigation began after several IC3 complaints against Haber were referred
to local and state agencies in
Florida. Despite two arrests by local law enforcement for his fraudulent
activity, Haber continued to sell on
While the IC3 continued to receive complaints about Haber, victims were
filing with other consumer
reporting agencies and local police departments as well. In January of 2005
FBI joined in the investigation.
In all, 188 complaints were received totaling more than $400,000. The FBI
investigation revealed that
Haber used EBay accounts belonging to friends, family members and business
associates to continue his
scheme. By assuming the identities of legitimate EBay sellers, Haber was
able to hide his true history from
potential buyers. While many of the accounts Haber used were suspended by
EBay because of buyer
complaints, he continued to sell on the site until federal search warrants
were executed on his home and
Haber will be sentenced for his crimes in August of 2006. At that time he
will face a statutory minimum of
twenty years for each of the six counts of wire fraud and one count of mail
fraud, fines of up to $250,000,
and can be ordered to make full restitution to the victims.
- John Bombard has been charged with hacking into two computer systems,
establishing a "bot" network of
compromised computers, and launching a distributed denial of service (DDOS)
attack against Akamai
Technologies. According to the United States Attorney’s Office, John Bombard
has been charged in
federal court with two counts of intentionally accessing a protected
computer without authorization. The
information alleges that in June of 2004 Bombard launched the DDOS attack
causing a significant increase
in web traffic to a number of the Cambridge-based company’s domain name
system (DNS) servers. This
attack caused a widespread loss of service to users by consuming the
bandwith of the network and
overloading its computational resources. Affected Akamai customers had
access to their websites slowed
or rendered inaccessible for a period of time. Many of these customers filed
complaints with the IC3. The
information also alleges that the attack against Akamai originated from a
“bot” network. A “bot” is a
computer program that seeks out and places itself on vulnerable computers
and runs silently in the
background until it receives instructions from a controlling computer. The
information alleges that
Bombard compromised the systems using a variant of the GAOBOT worm, a
software program capable of
reproducing itself and spreading from one computer to the next over a
network. If convicted, Bombard
faces up the two years imprisonment to be followed by one year of supervised
release and a $200,000 fine
on each of the charges.