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

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Movies

Review: 'Child of God' finds director James Franco…

James Franco's 11th directed feature is a noble but sloppy adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God," about a feral mountain man (Scott Haze).

Movies

Review: Alex Gibney's Fela Kuti doc 'Finding Fela'…

Prolific documentarian Alex Gibney takes on Afrobeat god Fela Kuti in "Finding Fela," but fails to capture his unique essence.

Gossip

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

Music

Incubus singer Brandon Boyd on his newest act,…

The rocker is releasing two new passion projects.

College

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…