Spokane County sheriff’s detectives recently arrested a man suspected of scamming people by posing as the owner of a classic car on eBay.
Samuel E. Richardson, 40, successfully ripped off at least one person in the Netherlands, who wired $3,000 for a 1965 Ford Mustang that Richardson did not own, the sheriff’s office said in a news release. The car belonged to another man in Spokane who was trying to sell it legitimately, the sheriff’s office said.
Richardson was arrested on a second-degree theft charge on Oct. 4 after one of his alleged victims set up a meeting at a bank in Newport, the sheriff’s office said. Numerous additional charges of theft and money laundering have been added in connection with other cases in Spokane and Cheney. The sheriff’s office said it’s still investigating Richardson’s actions and hopes to find additional victims.
Working with U.S. Postal Inspector Shannon Saylor, the sheriff’s detectives, Dean Meyer and Mark Smoldt, contacted the real owner of the Mustang in late August.
The owner, who had been trying to sell the car on Craigslist for $10,000, told the detectives a man named “Eric” had come by to look it. “Eric” had also taken several pictures of the vehicle and told the owner he planned to return and buy it in a few weeks, the sheriff’s office said.
But “Eric” did not come back, and the owner soon heard from other prospective buyers. One of them mentioned seeing the car advertised not only on Craigslist but also on eBay, the sheriff’s office said.
The real owner had not posted an ad on eBay. The fraudulent listing included photos that “Eric” had taken in the real owner’s shop, the sheriff’s office said.
The sheriff’s office didn’t say how it initially identified the eBay poster as Richardson – whose middle name is Erick – or how detectives first made contact with the alleged victim in the Netherlands. But that person provided the bank account where he had wired $3,000.
“Detectives used this information to backtrack the transaction and contacted the bank’s fraud department, as well as additional individuals who also fell for Richardson’s lies,” the sheriff’s office said in the news release.
Another victim, the sheriff’s office said, had been “duped” into letting Richardson wire money through the victim’s bank account.
At the time of his arrest, Richardson was wanted in other states, including on a felony warrant in Montana. The sheriff’s office said he refused to speak with detectives. He remained in the Spokane County Jail on Monday.
In March, a Spokane County judge sentenced Richardson to six days in jail after he was convicted of two counts of assault, according to newspaper records. In 2012, he was sentenced to 25 months in prison after pleading guilty to seven counts of theft.
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