Asheville man faces charge of Net fraud
By Tonya Maxwell
Date: May 16, 2003
ASHEVILLE - An Asheville man is being held without bond after being federally charged with using the Internet to "obtain money by false and fraudulent pretenses."
Federal agents have received nearly 200 complaints from across and outside the country about Todd Wilson Short, 32, according to an affidavit by FBI Special Agent Stuart M. Kelly.
From 1999 until May 2002, Short operated several businesses with an Asheville address. They were called Benton Medical Group International Inc., MedNetPlus Inc., J.C. Morris & Co. or some variation of those names, according to Kelly's statement.
Those businesses, according to Kelly, offered laptop computers through Internet auctions. Customers would pay through an Internet payment system, credit card, wire transfers or checks.
According to Kelly:
"The majority of the customers never received the products they had purchased. After the customers complained to the companies, they were give excuses for the delays. Token partial refunds were given to a few of the customers. The business entities would then close, and the phone lines would be disconnected. The new entity would emerge under a different name."
The 190 people who have complained have lost nearly $730,500, according to Kelly. Full story
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