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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 455 - January 06, 2003 - ISSN 1539-5065    2 of 3

MIT Student Sentenced for Selling Stolen Goods on eBay

By Ina Steiner
January 06, 2003

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A former MIT student was sentenced in federal court on Thursday for operating a mail fraud scheme involving the sale, over eBay, of computers and other equipment stolen from MIT. 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 that MARK L. STRAUSS, age 24, of Mesa, Arizona, was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge William G. Young to a three-year term of probation, the first six months of which are to be spent in home confinement. STRAUSS was further ordered to perform 120 hours of community service and to pay over $30,000 in restitution to MIT and to an eBay purchaser who returned his stolen system to MIT.

STRAUSS pleaded guilty on October 28, 2002, to one felony count of mail fraud. At the earlier plea hearing Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeanne M. Kempthorne told the Court that had the case proceeded to trial, the Government's evidence would have proven that STRAUSS admitted to MIT police that, over an 18-month period, he stole computers, laboratory equipment and other items from various locations at MIT, primarily in the areas of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry. STRAUSS then sold the items via the internet auction site, eBay. At last week's hearing, STRAUSS apologized for the harm he had caused to numerous people at MIT.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, with assistance from the MIT Police and the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeanne M. Kempthorne 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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