News and Press Releases

EBAY FRAUDSTER SENTENCED

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 3, 2010

Jeffrey H. Sloman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Henry Gutierrez, Inspector in Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service, Miami Division, announced the sentencing of defendant Nilton Rossoni, 50, formerly of Sunny Isles, FL, in connection with his role in a massive eBay fraud. Rossoni previously was indicted and convicted on charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349. Yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley sentenced Rossoni to 68 months in federal prison.

According to the charges, filed court documents, and statements made in open court, between October 2003 and June 2008, Rossoni executed a scheme to unlawfully enrich himself by listing and selling thousands of items on eBay, but not actually shipping or delivering these items after having received payment from the winning bidders. To effectuate his scheme, Rossoni used false or fictitious names and addresses, or the real names and addresses of unsuspecting individuals whose identities had been stolen, to create multiple e-mail accounts with America Online, Yahoo, and other internet e-mail service providers who did not verify registration information.

Thereafter, defendant Rossoni registered and established hundreds of eBay accounts and used various names, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and mailing addresses on those accounts to post items for auction. Rossoni would then purchase approximately 15 to 20 inexpensive items on eBay from himself and post positive “feedback” on the transaction. This feedback about the purported seller would become available for review by potential customers, who would be encouraged to conduct business as a result of the positive remarks about this seller.

After establishing positive feedback indicating a good online reputation, Rossoni would post and list various items, including textbooks, computer flash drives, rotisserie grills, tools, sporting equipment, DVD collections, airline tickets, saddles, saddlebags, designer luggage, appliances, metal detectors, and other items for auction on eBay, generally for 24 hours at a time, and would thereafter re-post these items multiple times. When the 24 hour auction ended, the winning bidders were notified via e-mail to send a check or money order payable to either Celso Ferreira, Jorge Carlos, Joao Santos, Lourival Philipps, Prime Hill, Inc., or Primo Hill, Inc.. The buyers were also instructed to send the payments via U.S. Mail to a private mailbox located at either a UPS Store, Mail Boxes Etc., Pak-Mail, or similar Commercial Mail Receiving Agency (CMRA).

As part of this scheme, Rossoni rented at least 59 separate private mail boxes at various Commercial Mail Receiving Agencies (CMRA), including The UPS Store, Mail Boxes Etc., and Pak-Mail, using fraudulent Brazilian passports in the names of Celso Ferreira, Jorge Carlos, Joao Santos, or Lourival Philipps as identification. After receiving payment, Rossoni deposited the money into various bank accounts he opened at Bank of America, Citibank, and SunTrust Bank, under these aliases. Rossoni kept the money and failed to ship or deliver the items that he had purportedly sold to the winning bidders.

In this way, from October 2003 through June 2008, Rossoni conducted more than 5500 eBay sales transactions using at least 260 different eBay accounts, resulting in his receipt of approximately $717,000 from thousands of bidders or purchasers. In every instance, none of the items were ever shipped or delivered, and Rossoni simply kept the money for personal use.

Mr. Sloman commended the investigative efforts of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. This case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Anton.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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