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

Best nature spots for kids in New York…

When it comes to kids and nature, most U.S. parents agree: children should be spending more time outdoors. According to a recent survey by The…

Local

Easter 2014: The year's best bonnets

It's Easter, and that means it's time for Fifth Avenue to turn into a veritable catwalk of bonnet-wearers. The annual march, which kicks off at…

Local

Woman arrested for attempted kidnapping of baby in…

Authorities said that a Queens woman behind an attempted kidnapping of an 8-month-old baby boy was arrested on Saturday.

Local

Hate crime charge in attack on Sikh Columbia…

A man has been arrested and charged with a hate crime after he allegedly pulled the beard of a Sikh Columbia University professor as part…

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

The Word

Miley Cyrus cancels more dates, tweeting from hospital

Miley Cyrus is reportedly so sick that she's had to postpone more tour dates. We know this because she has been sitting in a hospital…

NHL

Rangers let chance at victory slip away in…

All the Rangers had to do was hold serve in a raucous Madison Square Garden — roaring in anticipation of putting a hated rival in a 2-0 series hole.

MLB

Yankees place Ivan Nova on DL with partially…

Yankees starter Ivan Nova was diagnosed with a partially torn UCL in his throwing elbow Sunday.

NHL

Rangers never thought opening round would be 'an…

You might have thought the Metropolitan Division semifinal series was going to be a rout after watching Game 1 Thursday night. The Rangers did not.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.