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Pittsburgh Criminal Lawyer > > White Collar Crimes > Philadelphia Ecommerce Vendor Faces Fraud Charges For Alleged Scam Involving Wheelchair Accessible Cars

Philadelphia Ecommerce Vendor Faces Fraud Charges For Alleged Scam Involving Wheelchair Accessible Cars


Ecommerce makes it easier and cheaper to buy almost anything than it used to be when you had to go to physical stores or wait for coupons to arrive with the day’s newspaper before you could compare prices.  It also presents economic opportunities for people from all walks of life.  Family caregiving obligations and your own health problems are less of an obstacle when you are running an ecommerce business from your own computer or smartphone than when you have to report to your workplace every day.  Of course, it is much harder to tell whether someone is being truthful on the Internet than it is when buyers and sellers interact face to face.  A Pennsylvania man is facing criminal charges for allegedly defrauding more than 100 customers who attempted to buy wheelchair accessible cars from him through an online platform.  If you are being accused of defrauding customers who bought products from you online, contact a Pittsburgh white collar crime lawyer.

What Is the Difference Between Wire Fraud and Mail Fraud?

The crime of fraud occurs when you knowingly lie or make misleading statements for your own financial gain.  You can be accused of wire fraud or mail fraud depending on the means of communication by which you make the false statements.  These days, much communication, including many lies, takes place over wireless devices such as smartphones.  Since online communication, regardless of the presence or absence of wires, does not involve the postal service, these activities are usually charged as wire fraud.

In the News

Edward Scott Rock of Philadelphia operated a successful ecommerce business for at least four years, selling wheelchair accessible cars to customers with whom he communicated online.  The customer base for wheelchair accessible cars is not enormous, but demand exceeds supply; not everyone who uses a wheelchair can afford to pay for the modifications needed to make a car accessible.  Some of the buyers were wheelchair users themselves, while others bought the cars to use for small businesses that provide transportation for people with disabilities.

This would all be fine if all of the customers had actually received the cars they bought, but most of them did not.  After buying cars at auction, Rock would list them for sale online, but he would keep the listings up until multiple buyers had expressed interest in buying the car and sent payment.  In one instance, the same listing stayed up for nearly a year, and 13 customers paid for it, but only one of them ever got to drive it.  By the time of his arrest, Rock had alleged defrauded 120 customers in 36 states, and their total financial losses exceeded $2 million.  In late 2023, he was arrested and charged with mail fraud.  If convicted, Rock, 47, could spend up to 17 years in prison followed by up to five years of supervised release.

Contact Gary E. Gerson About Criminal Defense Cases

A criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are facing a criminal investigation for fraudulent ecommerce activities.  Contact the law offices of Gary E. Gerson in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania about your case.



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