A NY Criminal Defense Lawyer Explains When Fee Stacking is Auction Fraud
The Internet Crime Complaint Center indicates auction fraud is the source of approximately 25 percent of all complaints related to Internet offenses. eBay and other online auction sites present many opportunities for misunderstandings or misrepresentations that lead to buyers or sellers losing money.
If you participate in an auction and cause a buyer or seller to lose funds, you could be charged with auction fraud offenses. Auction fraud is a crime when you violate state or federal laws by stealing money, phishing for someone’s identifying information, or using the postal service, wire communication, TV or radio communication as part of a fraud scam. Fee stacking is one of many examples of auction fraud that could potentially result in you being prosecuted for a crime.
Bukh Law Firm, PLLC understands the laws related to auction fraud we know what types of evidence prosecutors will try to use when they charge you with offenses related to fee stacking. We will work hard to help you explore plea bargains, get charges dropped, or effectively defend yourself to try to secure a verdict of not guilty. Call our experienced NY auction fraud lawyers today to learn more if you have been charged with a criminal offense. Arkady Bukh has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in NYC TOP RATED ON:
SUPER LAWYERS, AVVO, NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS
Top Rated Criminal Lawyer
TOP RATED ON: SUPER LAWYERS, AVVO, NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS
What is Fee Stacking?
Fee stacking is a type of auction fraud that occurs when a buyer has won an auction. The seller subsequently changes the terms of the transaction to try to get more money from the buyer. The seller may make material misrepresentations, such as claiming shipping costs have become more expensive or that there is an additional fee for using a particular payment method. Sellers may also claim that the additional fees are transfer fees.
It is important to realize that fee stacking can result in criminal charges even if you are unsuccessful in getting the buyer to pay additional costs and fees. If you engage in fraudulent misrepresentation using the postal service or wire communications, you have broken the law even if your scheme to defraud an auction buyer of money is not ultimately a success.
Penalties for Fee Stacking?
Most instances of fee stacking do not result in criminal charges because the amounts of money at stake may be small and it is not worth a buyer’s time to report the offense or a prosecutor’s time to pursue a case against you.
There are situations, however, where authorities are looking to make an example of someone and aggressively go after people accused of fee stacking. If you are involved in a large-scale scheme in which you use fee stacking in many auctions to acquire significant sums of money, this can also significantly increase your chances of prosecution. When you use fraudulent misrepresentations to get buyers to send money via Western Union or other wire transfer services, this can also send up a red flag to authorities that a fraud scheme may be occurring that should be investigated.
When fee stacking does come to the attention of authorities, it may be federal or state prosecutors seeking an indictment and moving forward with charges against you. The crimes you are charged with may be very serious ones.
If you used wire communications or enticed buyers to transfer money via wire service, for example, you could be charged under 18 U.S. Code Section 1343. This federal statute defines wire fraud to encompass any situation where you are involved in a “scheme or artifice to defraud” using false promises or false pretenses by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce. The maximum penalties are 20 years in prison, or 30-years in prison and a $1 million fine if the scheme affects a financial institution.
How Can an Auction Fraud Lawyer Help in Fee Stacking Cases?
You should not have to worry about a lengthy prison sentence because of fee stacking, especially as many people do not even realize this behavior could be a violation of the law. Bukh Law Firm, PLLC fights aggressively to help keep our clients out of jail or to reduce the chances of conviction for a criminal offense in case of wrongdoing. We will work hard to help you secure a not guilty verdict if you are charged with fee stacking fraud or any type of auction fraud crime. Give us a call today to learn more.