Gregory A. White, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, announced that Terrance J. Holmes, age 42, or 330 Yorktown Place, Vermilion, Ohio, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Youngstown, Ohio, in connection with his recent conviction for Wire Fraud. Holmes was sentenced to 37 months in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release. Holmes was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $867,340.09, and a $100 special assessment to the Crime Victims’ Fund.
On December 14, 2006, an Information was filed charging Holmes with one count of Wire Fraud. Holmes entered a guilty plea to the charge on January 3, 2007.
The Information charged that between January 2001 and February 2002, Holmes having devised and attempted to devise a separate scheme and artifice to obtain money, funds and other property by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises knowingly transmitted and caused to be transmitted by means of interstate wire or other electronic communication, certain Internet advertisements and Internet e-mail communications, in violation of Title 18, United States Code Section 1343.
Specifically, between January 2001 and February 2002, Holmes owned and operated GPS Computer Services in Vermilion, Ohio, and offered various brands of laptop and notebook computers for sale to the public by means of an Internet website maintained by GPS Computer Services and via E-Bay, an Internet on-line auction website. Holmes and GPS Computer Services advertised the computers at deeply discounted prices of $400 to $700, when the manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the computers ranged from $1,100 to $1,600 each.
Holmes and GPS Computer Services accepted orders for laptop and notebook computers totaling approximately $964,559.86 from at least 1,187 customers via the Internet, by telephone, by mail and in person at the retail location in Vermilion, Ohio, but failed to deliver or supply the computers as promised. Holmes instructed GPS Computer Services employees to give various excuses to customers to stall any remedial actions the customers might have taken against GPS Computer Services.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert W. Kern of the Cleveland U.S. Attorney’s Office, following an investigation by the Elyria Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.