A NY Auction Fraud Defense Lawyer Explains Second Chance Schemes
Second-chance offers are common on eBay and on some other online auction websites. While most second-chance offers are legitimate, there are also situations in which a second chance offer provides the opportunity to perpetrate a scam.
While a fraudulent auction offer seems like a relatively minor crime, the reality is that auction fraud can be a federal offense under certain circumstances. If state or federal prosecutors become involved in an investigation and press charges against you, you could find yourself facing a lengthy prison sentence, even if the scam was unsuccessful. It is important you do everything possible to protect your interests and try to both stay out of prison and avoid forfeiture of money or assets.
Bukh Law Firm, PLLC provides legal representation to clients who have been accused of involvement with second chance schemes and all other types of auction fraud cases. We are committed to offering you the legal advocacy you deserve as you fight against charges that could derail your future.
What are Second Chance Schemes?
A second chance scheme targets someone who bid on an auction but who did not win the auction. The runner-up is contacted (usually via email) with an offer to sell him the item for his highest bid or at some other set price.
In some cases, the second chance scheme is a ponzi scheme designed to obtain financial information or personal identifying details from the auction bidding. The bidder is contacted and asked to provide payment details- like a credit card– right away to get the item he had bid on (usually, the bidder is offered a good deal). When his information is provided to make payment, the financial details can be used to withdraw funds without consent.
In other situation, the second chance scheme is an attempt to get the bidder to wire money or otherwise send an immediate payment. When payment is sent, no item is ever mailed or provided to the buyer. The buyer loses the funds and the person who perpetrated the scam is able to keep the money. Arkady Bukh has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in NYC TOP RATED ON:
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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
What are the Penalties for Second Chance Schemes?
eBay warns auction buyers not to respond to second chance offers that do not come through the website, and eBay will shut down the accounts of those who are found to be making unauthorized second chance offers to be completed outside of eBay. This should be the end of the consequences for a second chance scheme- but often it is not.
Authorities can become involved if the second chance scam is considered auction fraud. In some cases, you can actually be charged with very serious federal crimes. For example, if you send communications via email and/or if you ask for money to be transferred via wire transfer (like Western Union), you could be charged with a federal wire fraud offense. Under 18 U.S. Code Section 1343, this is a crime that could carry a possible maximum penalty of 20-30 years imprisonment depending upon whether the scam was likely to affect a financial institution or not.
If the scam is part of a phishing scam, you could also be charged with other federal criminal offenses related to identity theft that also carry lengthy prison sentences.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has parted with the National White Collar Crime Center to create the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). Federal authorities can and do respond to complaints of auction fraud and could come after you for involvement in a scheme. State prosecutors can also pursue charges for crimes like fraud, identity theft, and larceny. While federal charges are generally more serious than state charges, even prosecution by the state can result in jail time and a permanent criminal record.
Bukh Law Firm, PLLC provides legal representation to those who have been accused of wrongdoing. Our attorneys have experience with federal and state criminal court cases and we vigorously defend the rights of those accused of breaking the law.
How Can an Auction Fraud Defense Lawyer Help?
The U.S. Attorney or prosecutor who is assigned to your case has the legal burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that your involvement in a second chance scheme violated state or federal laws. You don’t have to show innocence, but can instead raise defenses for your actions or take steps to introduce doubt into a jury’s mind.
Bukh Law Firm, PLLC will help you to develop a strategic plan for defending yourself so you can have the best possible chance of a reduced penalty or avoiding conviction. Call us today to get started on your case.