Defendant Was Barred From Internet Commerce
An Internet merchant who was barred from doing business online has been sentenced on charges of wire fraud in U. S. District Court in Florida.
In April, 1998, the Federal Trade Commission charged that Craig Lee Hare, also known as Danny Hare, used Internet auction houses to advertise new and used computers for sale. Bids for the computers amounted to as much as $2,700 each. Hare accepted payment, but never delivered the goods or issued refunds, the FTC alleged. At the request of the FTC, a federal district judge issued a temporary restraining order and froze Hare's assets, pending trial. A September 1998 settlement of the charges barred Hare from doing any business on the Internet in the future. The FTC referred the case to the FBI in West Palm Beach, Florida, and the U. S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, West Palm Beach Division.
Hare was sentenced February12 in Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida, West Palm Beach Division. Charged by U. S Attorney Thomas E. Scott with wire fraud, Hare pleaded guilty to one count and was sentenced to six months home detention, three years probation, and was ordered to pay restitution of over $22,000.
The FTC has developed a Consumer Alert, "Online Auctions: Going, Going, Gone," with tips for online bidders. The Alert says that when consumers plan to bid in an online auction, they should take the following precautions:
- Try to pay by credit card;
- Ask about using an escrow agent, or paying by COD;
- Verify the seller's identity;
- Ask how you'll get follow-up service, if needed;
- Avoid impulse bids and purchases; and
- Ask about return policies.
Copies of the legal documents associated with the FTC case and the Consumer Alert are available from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-FTC-HELP (202-382-4357); TDD for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.
FTC Office of Public Affairs
FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection
202-326-3207 or 202-326-3114