Computer Crime Research Center


Internet thief pleads guilty

Date: March 25, 2006
By: Kathleen Hopkins

When an Internet site last year offered a luxury automobile for sale for $20,000, a Pennsylvania man forwarded a $2,500 down payment to the seller.

The problem was, the seller, 29-year-old David M. Calabretta of Berkeley, didn't have the BMW to sell. So the purchaser never received it.

On Wednesday, Calabretta — a repeat Internet sales cheat — pleaded guilty before Superior Court Judge Edward J. Turnbach to two counts of theft by deception, for that fraudulent sale and for another incident in which he collected a $750 payment for a computer he fraudulently offered for sale on the Internet.

Deputy Attorney General Kenneth Sharpe said Calabretta offered the items for sale on eBay last year. He even swiped a picture of a BMW from another seller and posted it as his to sell, Sharpe said.

A Pennsylvania man sent Calabretta $2,500 as a down payment for the car, Sharpe said. And a Michigan man sent a payment of $750 to Calabretta to purchase a computer he had seen on eBay, Sharpe said.

But Calabretta did not have the goods to sell. Neither purchaser received them, and both complained to the Internet Fraud Complaint Center, operated by the FBI and National White Collar Crime Center to refer complaints about Internet-related crime to the proper authorities, Sharpe said.
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