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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 424 - October 29, 2002 - ISSN 1539-5065    3 of 3

Former Massachusetts Woman Convicted of Fraud in Online Auction Case

By Ina Steiner
October 29, 2002

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A former Blackstone, Massachusetts woman was convicted Monday in federal court of two counts of mail fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud Internet auction bidders. United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan and Kenneth R. Jones, Postal Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in New England, announced today that Sharon Hunt, age 47, of 44 Oak Ridge Drive, Windsor Locks, Connecticut, formerly of Blackstone, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton to two counts of mail fraud.

At yesterday's plea hearing, the prosecutor told the Court that had the case proceeded to trial the Government's evidence would have proven that commencing in approximately December, 1998, Hunt used Internet auction Web sites to falsely advertise certain equipment, including but not limited to computer laptops, for sale. Successful bidders were instructed by Hunt to mail payment for the item being purchased. Hunt falsely represented to purchasers that, upon receipt of payment, she would forward the item being purchased. In fact, none of the victims of Hunt's scheme received any of the merchandise for which they had paid.

In total, Hunt defrauded victims across the country out of more than $25,000. Judge Gorton scheduled sentencing for January 22, 2003. Hunt faces up to 5 years' imprisonment, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori J. Holik in Sullivan's Economic Crimes Unit.

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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