eBay, Xerox fraudster welcomed to federal prison

 This guy was a one man Internet fraud machine.  Not only did he sell cars on eBAy and AutoTrader.com that he didn't actually own but then tried to defraud folks via a Xerox copier scam.

But today the system caught up with him as a judge sentenced Derrick Swantz to a little over four years in a federal prison plus an addition three years of supervised parole on charges of mail and wire fraud. The judge also imposed a $252,349 bill on Swantz for restitution to his victims.

The facts of the Internet car fraud are as follows from the FBI: Evidence showed that from November 2003 through October 2005, Swantz offered luxury automobiles he did not possess or own for sale by means of eBay and Autotrader.com.  Among the vehicles the defendant listed for sale, were a 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SE, a 2001 Mercedes-Benz S500, a 2002 Mercedes-Benz S500, and a 1997 Infiniti Q45.

Users of eBay and Autotrader.com responded to Swantz's advertisements and began communicating with him by telephone or email to learn more about the cars and negotiate a price. Swantz directed his victims to make payment by sending a cashier's check to his address, or to send money wire transfers to his bank accounts. Once Swantz received the victims' payments, he did not deliver the collector or luxury car.

Some victims filed claims under eBay's insurance and received most of their money back. Some persisted in trying to get the car or refund from Swantz, obtaining promissory notes for repayment, and in some cases partial or even full refunds. The Internet Car Fraud victims' total payments to Swantz exceeded $121,750. Swantz spent the victims' money on purchasing stocks, travel, and cash withdrawals.

On the Xerox fraud the FBI said: Evidence showed that from May 2004 through July 2005, Swantz carried out a scheme to defraud involving Xerox machines. He represented to persons from whom he was soliciting money that he was knowledgeable about business copier machines, and that he was able to purchase used copier machines for low prices and then sell them at substantial profits. Swantz would then ask such persons to front substantial sums to purchase particular machines, which he would claim that he would repair, maintain, store, and sell for profits that he would then later split with the investors.  He would direct victims to write him a check for their contribution to the copiers' purchases and/or make wire transfers into one of Swantz's bank accounts.

Victims of the Xerox machine fraud also persisted in trying to get Swantz to fulfill his promises or refund their money, but none received a refund or the promised profits. Bank records reflect that these victims paid more than $137,500 to Swantz. He again spent the money on stocks, travel, and cash withdrawals.

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