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Phoenix Man Given Five Years in Prison for eBay Fraud Scheme

(Phoenix, Ariz. - Nov. 12, 2010) Attorney General Terry Goddard announced that Eric Haywood Weinstein, 48, of Phoenix, was sentenced today by Maricopa County Superior Court Commissioner Steven Lynch to five years in prison on fraud charges.

In addition to the prison term, Weinstein was sentenced to six years of intensive supervised probation following his release and was ordered to pay restitution to eBay, the online auction company based in San Jose, Calif., in the amount of $900,000.

Weinstein pleaded guilty last month to two counts of fraudulent schemes and artifices, both class 2 felonies, arising out of two indictments charged by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

The Attorney General’s case stated that between 2003 and 2006 Weinstein used fraudulent names and credit cards to open numerous eBay accounts to sell items on the company’s website. While the credit cards he used showed sufficient credit to open a seller account, the cards were actually one-time user cards, which resulted in the accounts becoming invalid after eBay’s authorization test was complete.

The defendant proceeded to sell thousands of items on eBay using these fraudulent accounts, and eBay was unable to collect its auction fees as a result of the invalid cards on file. The company’s system did not catch this fraud until it had sustained hundreds of thousands of dollars in auction fee losses.

“My Office will continue to investigate and aggressively prosecute anyone who chooses to engage in fraudulent schemes in Arizona,” Goddard said.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service and the Scottsdale Police Department and prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Theodore Campagnolo.

“We are committed to keeping eBay safe and working closely with law enforcement authorities when we discover someone doing harm to our users and our company. We thank the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, the Scottsdale Police Department, and the U.S. Secret Service for their efforts in this case,” said Jack Christin, Associate General Counsel for eBay Government Relations.

A copy of the plea agreement is attached. For more information, contact Steve Wilson at (602) 542-8351.