Their alleged victims included at least one person from Pennsylvania, but police said their operation spread across the country. The two men behind an alleged Internet scam were arrested on Nov. 10 in Florida on charges of using online ads to steal peoples' money and using would-be "employees" to purchase items for themselves.
According to prosecutors, the men, 29 and 25, hired people over the Internet to purchase and ship computers and other items using money wired them by the defendants. Authorities said the employees thought they were part of a legitimate business, but in fact the money they were wired was stolen from others who responded to ads offering items for sale on Craigslist.
For example, a Pennsylvania woman responded to a Craiglist ad offering a truck for sale. She sent the cost of the truck to the designated location but never received the truck.
Instead, the arrest report claims, the money was wired to another woman who had accepted a stay-at-home job from the defendants. They instructed her to purchase some computers from a local Best Buy store and ship them to a woman in Florida. The defendants were the actual residents of the home. Other employees shipped items to vacant homes in the same neighborhood with various names used as the recipient.
Officers searched the men's home. They allegedly found legal pads of information about several people and credit card information for three people who did not live there. The two defendants face charges of organized fraud, identity theft, dealing in stolen property, grand theft and communications fraud.
Source: The Tampa Tribune, "Deputies: Pasco men operated Internet fraud scheme," Todd Leskanic, Nov. 11, 2011