The growth of the internet has been accompanied by a similar growth in the use of the internet to commit various kinds of crimes, including fraud and theft. Some internet crimes involve the theft of personal information, while others depend on the use of the internet for various kinds of fraud. For example, a local man has recently been arrested and charged with several crimes in the latter category.
According to the probable cause affidavit submitted by police, the man knew how to alter the bar codes on merchandise in big box stores, such as Target and Walmart. The scheme involved altering the bar codes to lower the price of an item as the bar code was scanned at the checkout counter. The suspect then allegedly sold the items on an eBay account for the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.
The scheme was very profitable before it was discovered by police. The suspect reportedly sold more than 1,400 items between March 21, 2018, and March 21, 2019. The probable cause affidavit alleges that the suspect made more than $243,000 during that single year. In the years since the defendant opened the eBay account in 2010, the account grossed $1.1 million.
Police have alleged that the suspect has not been employed since the fall of 2017, although the defendant told police at the time of his arrest that he was employed at a Goodwill store. The defendant faces nine felony counts in connection with his internet sales scheme: eight for delivery of a false sales document and one for corrupt business influence. All of the crimes are felonies. The defendant also faces six theft warrants and a charge of resisting law enforcement.
The defendant is entitled to be presumed innocent, unless and until he is proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but the evidence in this case appears to be persuasive. Anyone facing similar charges may benefit from consulting an experienced criminal lawyer for an evaluation of the evidence and an estimate of the likelihood of negotiating a favorable plea agreement.