Since its inception in September 1995, eBay has provided a way for millions of people to transact with each other. However, almost as soon as the site began, reports of fraud started to surface. Although the online auction site takes steps to protect sellers and buyers from fraudulent behavior, scams still take place on the auction site every day. In some instances, these scams result in criminal charges.
Here at Spodek Law Group, PC, we understand that you could find yourself involved in a fraudulent misrepresentation scam on eBay either unintentionally or without knowing that misrepresentation is a serious crime. All of a sudden, the FBI or the police is at your door, and you are facing significant criminal charges that could negatively impact your future. Due to the severity of the crime, it is important to protect yourself at all costs. Contact a New York defense lawyer at Spodek Law Group, PC as soon as possible if you have been accused of violating the law.
Our auction fraud attorney provide legal representation to clients accused of selling counterfeit items as if they are real, shill bidding, operating shell auctions and other types of misrepresentation. When you are facing charges of wrongdoing, let our legal team develop a strong defense to help you avoid conviction of a federal or state crime.
What is Fraudulent Misrepresentation?
Defined broadly, misrepresentation simply means giving a misleading or false account of something. If you are dishonest about your future intentions or current facts, you may be guilty of misrepresentation.
Similarly, fraudulent misrepresentation involves providing false or misleading information with the intent to become personally enriched or the intent to trick others. Fraudulent misrepresentation may also lead to civil actions, including breach of contract lawsuits. Federal or state authorities may be entitled to press charges if the misrepresentation occurred in situations where someone had a legal duty to tell the truth or if the misrepresentation occurred via radio, television, wire or mail communications.
Types of Fraudulent Misrepresentation
In one fraudulent misrepresentation scam reported in the New York Times in March 2011, a group of men used eBay to obtain more than $450,000. They reportedly told art-lovers that the paintings the buyers were purchasing were created by famous artists. The men gave false statements about why the paintings were damaged and where the paintings had been obtained, claiming that one painting was purchased at a yard sale. The scam also involved shill bidding to illegally inflate the price of the item. Fraud may also come in the form of:
– Fake sellers on eBay who provide false information on the quality and nature of items for sale.
– Fake bidders on eBay who place low and high bids to drive other buyers away, withdrawing the highest bid at the last moment to buy an item at the lower price.
– Fake buyers on eBay who pay for auctions using stolen financial information or who overpay for items with fake checks and ask the seller to remit the balance back to them.
Penalties for Fraudulent Misrepresentation
According to the New York Times, in the above example, the men were charged with multiple counts of money laundering, mail fraud and wire fraud. These federal offenses could lead to decades in jail.
The exact penalties for fraudulent misrepresentation will vary depending on the situation. Defendants could face charges of violating intellectual property or copyright laws as well as charges for forgery and larceny. The penalties depend on whether you face charges of a federal or state offense as well as the amount of money involved and the nature of the scheme. Typically, the defendant must pay restitution, and the government could be entitled to freeze and seize assets and cash it believes were obtained via a fraudulent misrepresentation scam.
A Fraudulent Misrepresentation Lawyer Can Help
In order to find you guilty, the prosecution must prove that you were wilfully blind to the truth or that you made intentionally misleading statements. Here at Spodek Law Group, PC, we can help represent you against these accusations, and we will strive to protect your rights so that you may obtain the best possible outcome in the criminal justice system. For more information, please contact a member of our legal team today.
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