Action fraud is a frequent problem on online auction websites such as eBay. According to statistics, approximately 25 percent of all fraud complaints reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center involve accusations of online auction fraud. Both sellers and buyers alike may be held responsible for this type of fraud.
Multiple bidding auction fraud is just one of many types of auction fraud and occurs when a seller does not receive the correct amount for the item that he would had the auction been legitimate. In these cases, sellers can sometimes file a civil lawsuit and pursue a claim for compensation. Individuals accused of multiple bidding auction fraud could also face federal or state criminal charges. If you have questions about this type of fraud or you have been accused of illegal activity, contact Spodek Law Group, PC today to learn more about legal representation in multiple bidding auction fraud cases.
What is Multiple Bidding Auction Fraud?
In short, multiple bidding auction fraud occurs when a buyer places multiple bids on an item using different aliases, user names or identities. In most cases, one or more bids are very high for the purpose of scaring away legitimate bidders who might be interested in purchasing the item. Other bids are placed very low. At the last minute, the buyer retracts the high bids, and the auction closes for one of the low bids made one of the buyer’s aliases. The seller is then forced to let the item go for a fraction of what he or she might have received if buyer had not placed the false high bids.
Essentially, multiple bidding auction fraud is the opposite of shill bidding. Although the latter is a form of fraud sellers use to increase their prices via fake bids and aliases, multiple bidding is an attempt to lower the prices via fake bids and aliases.
Multiple Bidding Auction Fraud Penalties
In most cases, sellers fail to notice multiple bidding auction fraud, and the buyer simply gets a good deal on the item. However, sometimes retracting multiple bids can draw attention and thus trigger an investigation. If it is determined that the buyer made multiple bids in an attempt to manipulate the auction, he or she may face criminal charges.
Under New York State law, the Donnelly Act encompasses prohibitions on price-fixing and bid-rigging. This Act has been applied to many online auctions in which bid-rigging occurred. Depending on the specific circumstances surrounding the auction, possible penalties may include a felony criminal record, up to four years in prison, a $100,000 fine for individuals and a $1 million fine for businesses.
Although past criminal cases that fell under the Donnelly Act typically focused on driving up the prices and shill bidding, placing false bids in order to lower the price could potentially be considered a crime tried under the Donnelly Act as well.
In addition, since bidders use wire communications when committing multiple bidding auction fraud, a defendant may also face wire fraud charges under 18 U.S. Code Section 1343. Because wire fraud is a federal offense, someone convicted of this crime could receive a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. For this reason, it is important to work with a multiple auction fraud attorney who can help you understand the charges you are facing.
Need Representation? A NY Auction Fraud Lawyer Can Help
If you or a loved one has been convicted of multiple bidding auction fraud and you need a lawyer on your side, contact Spodek Law Group, PC today. In order for you to be convicted, a prosecutor must demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly and willfully violated the law. Whether you are facing prosectuion from a U.S. Attorney at the federal level or a NY district attorney, it is critical to have a knowledgeable legal advocate on your team who fights for your rights and for the justice you deserve.
The attorneys at Spodek Law Group, PC have successfully defended clients accused of auction fraud crimes, including multiple bidding auction fraud. If you have any questions about the legal assistance we can provide or you would like to schedule a free consultation with our team, please reach out to us today.
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