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U.S. v. Robert W. Lederhilger III, 23 Cr. 116 (ALC)

On March 8, 2023, ROBERT W. LEDERHILGER, III was arrested on an indictment charging him with mail fraud in connection with a scheme to induce small businesses (the “Victim Businesses”) located throughout the United States to pay for webhosting services that were not and never intended to be rendered. LEDERHILGER and others operated the scheme using the following entities: “Web Host Agents,” “Certified Web Services,” and “FreeBird Host LLC” “Enterprise Service Level LLC,” “The Domain Hosting Group LLC,” “Simple Domain Host LLC,” “Main Street Web Pros LLC,” “Vicco Web LLC,” “Sunshine Giz Co,” “Trendy Web Services,” and “Total Host Pro.”

As charged in the Indictment, beginning in or about July 2016, ROBERT W. LEDERHILGER III, the defendant, contracted with a mass printing and mailing company to print and mail solicitations for webhosting services or renewal invoices for webhosting services (the “Deceptive Mailings”) to Victim Businesses throughout the United States. The Deceptive Mailings were designed to convincingly and misleadingly look like invoices for webhosting services that had already been rendered. The Deceptive Mailings included all the hallmarks of an actual invoice for services already rendered: it listed a due date, the amount due, a description of the services provided, i.e. “Yearly Web Hosting,” a phone number for billing inquiries, and it requested that a check be made payable to one of the entities listed above.  Victim Businesses received no services for the payments they made in response to the Deceptive Mailings. As a result, from at least in or about March 2015 through at least in or about May 2022, ROBERT W. LEDERHILGER III caused Deceptive Mailings to be sent to tens of thousands of Victim Businesses, at a rate of several thousand per month, which fraudulently induced more than approximately 38,000 payments by the Victim Businesses amounting to approximately $7 million paid for services not rendered.

The case is assigned to United States District Judge Andrew L. Carter. The Indictment may be found below.[1]

A status conference is scheduled in this matter on August 22, 2023 at 12:00 p.m. The proceedings will take place in courtroom 1306 in the United States Courthouse located at 40 Foley Square, New York, NY 10007.

Updates regarding the progress of this case will be posted on this site.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York is committed to protecting the rights of crime victims. If you believe you are a victim of the offense charged, our Victim/Witness Unit can make sure that you are notified of important stages of the case to help you exercise your rights. In addition, our Victim/Witness Unit is available to answer questions you might have about this case and can refer you to available resources.

Federal crime victims have the following rights, as set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3771:

(1) The right to be reasonably protected from the accused.
(2) The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public court proceeding, or any parole proceeding, involving the crime or of any release or escape of the accused.
(3) The right not to be excluded from any such public court proceeding, unless the court, after receiving clear and convincing evidence, determines that testimony by the victim would be materially altered if the victim heard other testimony at that proceeding
(4) The right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding.
(5) The reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case.
(6) The right to full and timely restitution as provided in law.
(7) The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay.
(8) The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim’s dignity and privacy.
(9) The right to be informed in a timely manner of any plea bargain or deferred prosecution agreement.
(10) The right to be informed of the rights under this section and the services described in section 503(c) of the Victims’ Rights and Restitution Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 10607(c)) and provided contact information for the Office of the Victims’ Rights Ombudsman of the Department of Justice.

For information and assistance, please contact:

Wendy Olsen
Victim/Witness Coordinator
United States Attorney's Office
One St. Andrew's Plaza
New York, New York 10007

[1] The Indictment and the description of the Indictment set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Updated July 12, 2023