Police raid home of alleged eBay thief
Source: New Haven Register•Com
By Neal Jones , Register Staff
Date: December 03, 2003
MILFORD — Police had some "negative feedback" for an alleged eBay thief — a raid at his house and criminal charges.
Karl Hansen, 43, of 119 Wolf Harbor Road was arrested Saturday about 9:15 a.m. and charged with five counts of sixth degree larceny.
Police said he sold books and sports cards on the Internet auction site, but did not deliver the goods on at least 15 occasions. Hansen was released on a promise to appear in court on Dec. 16 and police spokesman Vaughan Dumas said "investigation is continuing with other victims."
Dumas said police received five complaints from people who live in other states who told them they had been the victims of fraud by Hansen.
Police began investigating the incident on Nov. 15 after receiving an e-mail notification of fraudulent activities from the West Virginia-based Internet Fraud Complaint Center, the arrest warrant affidavit states.
The first complaint was taken on Oct. 3, and the IFCC said a Virginia man paid $31 plus shipping and handling costs for the book "The Prince" but never received the novel even though his check was cashed.
Police learned there were "several complaints made to the IFCC and also eBay regarding other fraudulent activities of (Karl) Hansen," the affidavit said.
A fraud investigator for eBay told police that Hansen’s subscription to the Web site was terminated on Oct. 8, the affidavit states, and that Hansen had received 16 complaints from other users.
A search of comments made by eBay users about Hansen on the eBay Web site indicate Hansen has received 276 comments, only 16 of them negative.
The vast majority of the input indicates that, as one user put it, Hansen "is an asset to eBay!" Other users said transactions made with Hansen were "lightning quick" and that he is "highly recommended."
But of the 16 negative complaints, all indicate they sent a check and, despite repeated e-mails, never received their item.
"Fraud," one said. "Avoid," said another.
Police learned there were three other complaints filed with the IFCC against Hansen in September and October, one in which a North Carolina man alleged he paid money for the book "Babbit" by Sinclair Lewis but never received it.
Police obtained a search and seizure warrant for computers, storage devices and printed documents at Hansen’s Wolf Harbor Road home and executed it on Nov. 20, the affidavit states.
Police seized two computers and printed material that the affidavit states referenced "several of the victims."
Hansen arrived home during the execution of the warrant, and told police that he had done about 150 auctions in the past year and half, usually selling "various items consisting of sports cards and books" the affidavit states.
Hansen told police that he "had received negative feedback from many buyers" and the affidavit states he also said "he has defrauded approximately 10 to 15 high bidders."
Hansen said he also provided the high bidders with a fake cellular phone number, he said.
Dumas said Milford police have investigated a number of similar complaints within the last year, at least three have resulted in charges being filed, he said.
"We have a few officers trained in conducting forensic computer investigations such as this," Dumas said. "We routinely investigate complaints like this."
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