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Pennsylvania Attorney General Fisher Granted Injunction to Halt Alleged Internet Fraud Scam.

HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Attorney General Mike Fisher today announced that he has filed suit and obtained a preliminary injunction against a Clinton County-based business and its operators for allegedly offering high-priced items for sale over the Internet and then pocketing thousands of dollars from consumers without delivering the items purchased.

Fisher said the lawsuit and preliminary injunction was filed against Craig Alan Levi -- who is also known as Todd Roberts, Jack Lambert and Frank Miller -- doing business as Calevi, Inc., P.O. Box 139, Campground Rd., McElhatton, Clinton County, and 1738 East Third St., Suite 200, Williamsport, Lycoming County.

Fisher identified the other defendants as:

-- Becky Ann Levi, P.O. Box 139, Campground Rd., McElhatton, Clinton

County.

-- Frank Nickens, 16 Pine Grove Rd., Williamsport, Lycoming County.

-- Penn Central Brokering, Inc., owned by Craig Alan Levi and principally

located at P.O. Box 139, Campground Rd., McElhatton, Clinton County.

"The court order prohibits the defendants from conducting business, destroying documents or records and transferring assets from their bank accounts," Fisher said. "We're also seeking civil penalties and full restitution for more than a dozen consumers who each lost between $450 and $9,000 in this alleged Internet scam."

According to investigators, the defendants from April through July 1999 searched Internet auction sites, including eBay, to identify interested buyers or buyers who submitted unsuccessful bids for certain items. The defendants then allegedly contacted the buyers via e-mail to offer the same or similar item for sale at a negotiated price. The suit claims that the defendants agreed to ship the item upon receipt of payment in full either by electronic money transfers or certified check or money orders.

"My office is aware of at least 13 consumers who claimed that the defendants took their money and never delivered the goods," Fisher said. "When consumers contacted the defendants to inquire about their purchases, the defendants, in every case, blamed the shipper or postal service for delays or errors."

According to the suit, consumers from Pennsylvania and throughout the U.S. and Canada lost thousands of dollars attempting to purchase Beanie Babies, computers, stereo and electronic equipment, a Rolex watch and other goods.

On August 10, Fisher said, agents from his office, the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Pennsylvania State Police executed a search warrant at the home of Craig Alan Levi and Becky Ann Levi. Officials seized records, documents and computer equipment allegedly used to conduct direct Internet sales to consumers.

The suit asks the court to order the defendants to:

-- pay full restitution to consumers who can prove a loss due to

defendants alleged illegal business practices.

-- pay civil penalties of $1,000 per violation and $3,000 for each

violation involving a person age 60 or older.

-- pay the Commonwealth's costs of investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General E. Barry Creany of Fisher's Bureau of Consumer Protection. A hearing on the preliminary injunction petition will be held Friday, Aug. 20, at 10 a.m. before Clinton County Court of Common Pleas Judge J. Michael Williamson.
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 18, 1999
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