Suffolk man gets prison for defrauding auto buyers
NORFOLK, Feb 02, 2013 (The Virginian-Pilot - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Mirando Lee Walton, a 46-year-old Suffolk man, was sentenced to serve two years and three months in federal prison Friday for an Internet scheme that targeted car buyers.
People who thought they were shopping for vehicles on eBay were "defrauded through the creation of bogus listings on an eBay like spoof site," according to a statement of facts in court records.
In most cases, the victims sent money to Walton's bank account or one he set up for his fake company, "Morlock Architectural Design Inc.," according to the same document.
When withdrawing the money, he did so at different bank branches in amounts small enough that they would not trigger the reports that financial institutions make for transactions above $10,000.
Walton pleaded guilty in November.
He must pay $45,695 in restitution to victims once he is released from prison.
The scheme took place in 2010.
Walton also was convicted of similar crimes in 2005 and was still on supervised release at the time of his more recent case, according to a statement filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Jenny Shearer, a spokeswoman for the FBI, said online auto auction fraud is not uncommon.
"I think what's important to remember on the Internet is that anyone can pretend to be anyone else," she said, warning online consumers to not
give out personal information or wire money.
Shearer said there are other safety tips on shopping online on the FBI's web page. For more information, go to www.fbi.gov.
Janie Bryant, 757-446-2453, firstname.lastname@example.org
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