Computer Crime Research Center


Local man connected to Internet fraud scheme

Date: March 09, 2005
Source: MetroWest Daily News
By: Mary Kerr

STOW -- A Hudson resident, formerly of Stow, is facing up to 20 years in jail and upwards of $250,000 in fines in connection with an Internet fraud scheme that netted him at least $400,000.
Michael Deppe, 20, of 59 Bennett St., Hudson, was arrested in Florida Feb. 4 on charges of fraud. He was extradited to Massachusetts, where he was indicted on eight counts of wire fraud and two counts of mail fraud, according to U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan's office.
Deppe was turned over to Stow Police by federal authorities March 3. In Stow, he was wanted for passing a bad check at Citizen's Bank. According to Stow Chief Mark Trefry, Deppe has paid Citizen's back the $5,128, clearing the matter for now.
"This is a very brazen young man who basically challenges you to catch him. And we just did," said Stow Police Officer Tim Lima.
According to Trefry, Detective Steven Sturtevant and Lima began investigating reports from the Internet Fraud Center (IFC) about Deppe's trading practices on the online auction house eBay. Problems or complaints involving Internet computer transactions are reported to the IFC, which then refers the issue to the local agency --in this case, the Stow Police Department.
The mechanics of the scam were fairly simple. According to Lima, Deppe would claim to have items for sale -- watches, tickets, baseballs, shirts or other collectibles.
"For example, you could pay for a Michael Jordan signed shirt, and then receive a small box of kiddy toys in return," explained Lima.
According to a press release for Sullivan's office, Deppe would e-mail the runners-up in various eBay auctions, claiming to have a similar item for sale. To convince buyers of his legitimacy, Deppe would allow them to wire money to his account after establishing a U.S. Postal Service tracking number. That would allow the buyer to track his purchase online. Deppe took advantage of the fact that the online postal tracking gives only the zip code, not the street address destination, of the package, Sullivan said. The packages being tracked were stuffed with newspapers, cards and other junk, then labeled with the wrong address. Deppe would then refuse to refund money, claiming he wasn't responsible for shipping errors, Sullivan said.
Sullivan's office estimates that, from March 2003 to March 2004, Deppe defrauded 27 people of roughly $115,000.
Reports of Deppe's fraud came from across the United States, creating jurisdictional problems, Lima said. In Massachusetts, Deppe was also being investigated by police in Shrewsbury, Lima said, and there is a complaint from Yorba Linda, Calif. Learning that, Stow Police turned the matter over to U.S. Postal Inspectors because Deppe was allegedly using the mail to commit fraud, Lima said.
Unaware federal authorities were investigating him, police said Deppe went to Jacksonville, Fla., for the Super Bowl, where he was recognized in the airport by a customer. As a result, the Jacksonville Police put Deppe under surveillance and he was arrested in St. Augustine, Fla., on Feb. 4. allegedly trying to sell fraudulent Super Bowl tickets.
Held in Jacksonville under a federal indictment, Deppe was arrested as a fugitive from justice in Florida and U.S. Marshals returned him to federal court in Boston.
"As of Thursday he was arraigned on federal charges of wire fraud of more than $400,000," Lima said.
Deppe was on $150,000 bond by federal authorities, then turned over to Stow Police on the outstanding theft-by-check warrant from Citizen's Bank in Stow.
According to Stow Police, Deppe received a check from an unsuspecting customer and deposited it in Citizen's Bank. The next day, he withdrew the money and was handed the cash. When the victim realized he'd been scammed, he stopped payment on the check, police said.
The check didn't clear, at which point, said Lima, since Citizen's Bank had paid Deppe $5,000 cash, the bank had become the victim.
"So we arrested him and held him," says Lima.
Deppe has since been released $7,500 bail.
"Know who you are doing business with. It is so easy to be

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Discussion is closed - view comments archieve
2010-07-08 23:31:27 - I find it quite entertaining that Caitlin... JD
2006-09-14 19:18:55 - ok im a st.john's student, and im a... Wooper doo
2006-04-01 19:55:02 - I knew Mike Deppe in middle school, he may... Caitlin Makary
2006-01-31 13:27:07 - Andrew your not to honest yourself rev
2006-01-07 01:25:50 - deppe is a good guy all of you are nothing... andrew lynch
2005-12-24 02:45:09 - Deppe has New Scam, New Arrest, New... rev
2005-04-18 21:45:24 - My boyfriend was defrauded by this... bonnie tucker
Total 7 comments
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