U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Erik C. Sayer, age 36, of Pierre, appeared before U.S. District Judge Robert A. Lange and pled guilty to Count II of a Superseding Indictment that charged him with wire fraud. The maximum penalty upon conviction is 20 years' imprisonment.
The conviction stems from a scheme whereby Sayer used e-mail, PayPal, and bank wire services in furtherance of a fraudulent scheme that caused Dell, Inc., to ship computer components, computers, and parts to six different addresses. The total loss to Dell, Inc., was over $500,000.
As part of the scheme, E-mail communication was used among several parties to transmit information with respect to fraudulent ownership of computers. The internet was used to "chat" with Dell, Inc., technical services to make application and negotiate for new computer parts which were provided under warranty or service contract. The fraudulently obtained parts were also sold on eBay, and the proceeds were deposited in the co-conspirators’ PayPal accounts and ultimately transferred to the defendant's bank.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Secret Service. The case is being prosecuted by First Assistant U.S. Attorney Randolph J. Seiler.
A presentence investigation was ordered, and a sentencing date was set for March 12, 2012. The defendant was released on bond pending sentencing.