Oklahoma Man Enters Guilty Plea in Massive Auction Fraud Case

Oklahoma Man Enters Guilty Plea in Massive Auction Fraud Case

(RepublicanView.org) – An Oklahoma man has pleaded guilty to hacking an auction website and buying items for $1. Evan James Coker broke into General Service Administration auctions to buy up items seized by authorities and sold for a bargain price. Mr. Coker bought vehicles and other high-value items at prices that were not unusual, but when it came time to pay, he allegedly hacked the website and changed the sale value to $1.

Federal prosecutors charged him with wire fraud last March, and he pleaded guilty on February 21, having defrauded the government out of over $150,000. Included in his purchases were a 201 Ford Escape Hybrid, for which he bid $8,327, a $9,000 Ford pickup truck, and a Chevrolet C4500 box truck with a bid price of over $22,000. The federal indictment stated that he had procured 19 items using eight separate accounts and tried to sell the vehicles onward. He was freed to await sentencing.

Experts say that online auction fraud is growing and becoming a fertile criminal ground. Internet protection firm NordVPN describes auction fraud as “anything from misrepresenting items to fraudulent bidding to increase an item’s price.” The most common types of fraud are non-delivery, misrepresentation, shill bidding, and bid shielding.

Non-delivery fraud simply refers to unscrupulous sellers who advertise and auction items that do not exist, take the money, and close the selling account. Misrepresentation fraud occurs when sellers auction off items and then send a completely different product after the sale.

Shill bidding is common and involves people driving up the price of their own items by making fake, inflated bids. In contrast, bid shielding does the opposite and keeps the price low by using fake buyers with several accounts making below-value bids.

IT support company Pillar advises online purchasers to be aware of “red flags,” including incomplete product descriptions, sellers with limited history, or products sold at a significantly lower price than their market value.

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