Computer Crime Research Center


eBay con man sentenced

Date: May 11, 2005

A Manchester man was sentenced Monday to four months in a federal community corrections facility as part of one year of probation for an Internet scam in which he auctioned items on eBay he did not possess and told his purchasers to file claims with the U.S. Postal Service for goods they did not receive.

Federal Judge Yvette Kane also sentenced Dennis Paul Lewis, of Third Street in Manchester, to a $100 fine, $100 special assessment and 20 hours of community service, and ordered him to make complete restitution to those he defrauded.

Kurt Blake, Lewis' attorney, said Lewis has made restitution of $5,500 and would pay the remaining $4,500 immediately.

In sentencing Lewis to four months at a community corrections facility, generally seen as a halfway house, Kane went against the recommendations of Assistant U.S. Attorney Martin Carlson, Blake and Lewis' parents, all of whom had asked her to consider probation, or probation plus a period of home confinement, in light of the steps they said Lewis has taken to turn his life around.

But Kane said she believed that despite the support Lewis has from his parents, he lives "a somewhat isolated existence" and that isolation helped get him in trouble. Kane said she thought it would be in Lewis' best interest to be confined away from home for four months so he could participate in programs that would help with his rehabilitation.

Lewis had agreed to plead guilty to one felony count.

Court documents indicate Lewis began auctioning cellular telephones and other items he did not possess over eBay in November 2003. He gave fraudulent shipping information, including fake postal tracking numbers, to those who won auctions and paid him, the documents say.

The felony information said Lewis falsely claimed the shipped goods had been stolen or lost from the U.S. mail, and that he would submit false claims for reimbursement and encourage purchasers to do the same. Lewis continued his activity through December 2004, even after being warned by local police to stop, court documents said.

At Monday's sentencing, it was reported that Lewis had deposited enough funds to make full restitution in his attorney's escrow account and had been performing community service while awaiting sentencing.

Margaret Lewis, Lewis' mother, addressed Kane and said her son and the rest of his family were "aware of the bad judgment he displayed and the people he harmed." She said her son had taken full responsibility for his actions and felt great remorse.

"He has grown from a young man to a man," she tearfully told Kane, "and has been working hard to get his life back to be the person we know — honest and hard-working."

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