Feds: Philly man stole $98K through ‘secret shopper’ Craigslist scam

federal courthouse Philadelphia
The U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia. (Credit: Rikard Larma / Metro).

A Philadelphia man was on Thursday arrested by federal authorities and charged by indictment in connection with a wide-ranging series of Internet-based counterfeit check scams prosecutors say victimized dozens of people across the country.

David Brister, 56, allegedly teamed up with at least one overseas co-conspirator to dupe recipients of counterfeit checks and money orders into depositing the phony items into their bank accounts while wiring real money to him.

In all, Brister is accused of racking up more than $98,000 in fraudulent proceeds from the schemes between January 2008 and August 2012.

Brister and his co-conspirator also allegedly planned to send more than $5.8 million worth of additional counterfeit checks and money orders to U.S. victims in the future.

In one scheme, authorities said Brister would submit Craigslist posts advertising fake jobs, such as secret shoppers.

Upon “hiring” an employee, Brister and his co-conspirator would allegedly send the person counterfeit checks or money orders and instruct them to keep a portion of their “salary” while wiring the balance to Brister.

Only after wiring the funds would the victims learn the checks and money orders they had deposited into their bank accounts were counterfeit.

In a second scam, prosecutors said Brister would respond to Craigslist postings advertising merchandise for sale and send counterfeit checks or money orders to the vendor in excess of the posted price.

His co-conspirator would then allegedly identify Brister as the representative of a third-party delivery company, ask the seller to desposit the check or money order into their account, keep enough money to cover the sales price and a bonus for their trouble, then wire the remainder of the cash to Brister.

Again, only after the money was sent would the victims learn the checks or money orders they received were fraudulent.

Brister is charged with one count of conspiracy, five counts of mail fraud, 12 counts of wire fraud, two counts of presenting and transmitting counterfeit money orders and four counts of passing and uttering counterfeit checks.

If convicted of all charges, he faces a maximum sentence of 395 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $6 million and a $2,500 special assessment.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Judge strikes down NY limits on donations to…

A federal judge on Thursday reluctantly struck down New York's limits on donations to independent political action committees as unconstitutional, potentially ushering in a new…

Local

On-duty NYPD detective arrested for DWI in Queens

A New York City Police detective was arrested early Thursday and charged with driving under the influence while on the clock.

Local

City Council committee moves Williamsburg's Domino refinery deal…

The deal to turn the old Domino Sugar refinery along the Williamsburg waterfront into a new housing complex is one Council vote away from approval.

National

On newly released tape, 'Squeaky' Fromme says was…

Manson Family member Squeaky Fromme told a mental health examiner in newly released interview the "X" she carved in her forehead was meant to separate her from "the system."

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

Movies

'A Brony Tale' documents men who are into…

Ashleigh Ball, a voice actress on "My Little Pony," speaks to us.

Movies

Tribeca: Nikki Reed on going funny for a…

"Intramural" star Nikki Reed talks about being the straight person in a broad comedy, spending time in Austin and how "Thirteen" was a "miracle."

Going Out

Pop-up cat cafe opens to long lines in…

The country's first pop-up cat cafe opened in New York on Thursday.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

MLB

5 infamous pitcher ejections for cheating

Never fear Yankees fans, Michael Pineda is far from the first MLB pitcher to be thrown out of a game for cheating.

MLB

Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda ejected for using pine…

Pineda was thrown out of the game against the Red Sox Wednesday for having pine tar on his neck -- for all the world to see.

NFL

Giants 2014 regular season schedule

The Giants will play five prime-time games — against the Lions, Redskins, Eagles, Colts and Cowboys.

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.

Style

MAC & Proenza Schouler collection unveiled

MAC Cosmetics is releasing a new collection with Proenza Schouler.