Case Study – eBay Fraud

This was an investigation into an allegation that the Store Manager, Mr. Y has been selling property belonging to the store on EBay, which is an internet trading auction house.

I was informed that the store manager’s EBay screen name is “***“. EBay use screen names for all users which they can choose. The user’s real names are not disclosed to anyone other than the person who wins a “bid” on an item for sale. I searched the EBay internet auction house under that screen name and found stock being offered for sale of a promotional nature which can not be bought in the store. The same day, I registered with EBay under the name of “John ***“ and selected the EBay screen name of “***“. I also set up a web based email address with Hotmail as *** and used it as my email address for the purposes of this investigation.

I also placed test bids on several items for sale on his auction page. I also obtained a printout of all items (over 100 items) that were listed for sale at this site.

I duly won the bids on the items and subsequently received confirmation of the seller’s name, address and I sent out payments by post to Mr. Y to his address using postal orders as specified in his payment instructions.

I received an email from Mr. Y informing me that he received my payment for the t-shirt and wanted to know what colour I wanted as he had two colours, navy blue or marl grey. On the same day, I replied to his email and told him that I wanted the marl grey t-shirt and asking him where he got these items from?

He replied, “I get such unusual stuff as I work in the computer games industry and often have access to special promotional items, that you wouldn’t be able to find in the shops”.

I obtained a Loyalty Card Report which was issued to Mr. Y. All members of staff are required to use their Loyalty Card for their staff purchases. This report shows all staff purchases made by him.

I subsequently received all of the items mentioned above in the post via recorded delivery in three envelopes. All the envelopes had a sticker on the back which stated the senders name and address.

I duly attended the store accompanied by my colleague and interviewed the store manager. The interview was recorded in the form of original contemporaneous notes, which were signed by Mr. Y as true and accurate. During the course of this interview, Mr. Y admitted removing store promotional property and selling it on EBay.

The police were called and attended the store whereupon Mr. Y was arrested and cautioned for Theft, employee & Deception. Mr. Y subsequently pleaded guilty to 5 specimen counts of Theft, Employee and 5 specimen counts of Deception.