A New Jersey couple is accused of running a scam to sell fake trading cards and other items on eBay.
Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli says Andrew D. Mei, a personal trainer from Paramus, and his fiancée, 37-year-old Deborah Fernandez, also a trainer, were charged with Theft by Deception, Impersonation (Identity Theft) and Computer Related Theft.
Molinelli says the charges are the result of an investigation conducted by members of the Newark Division of United States Postal Inspection Services and members of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office White Collar Crimes Unit.
In April, the Postal Inspection Services unit received information from PayPal and eBay alleging that Mei was using a false identity to facilitate the sale of sports cards as well as gold coins and bars from as early as 2008 to present.
According to eBay, Mei would buy rare, authentic cards on eBay, make copies and then sell the counterfeit replicas through the auction site. Molinelli says Mei conducted the fraudulent transactions in his own name as well as other variations of his name.
By 2012, authorities say eBay shut down his accounts. In March of 2013, however, they say Mei established new eBay and PayPal accounts using a stolen identity belonging to a victim in California. Molinelli says Mei then continued the scheme using those accounts.
Information obtained from Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) confirmed that the items Mei sold to unsuspecting victims on eBay were indeed counterfeit.
Bank accounts and credit cards belonging to Fernandez facilitated the fraudulent eBay and PayPal transactions, according to investigators.
Mei was arrested at his home on Monday, and Fernandez was served with the Complaint-Summons at the same time. Mei was taken to jail with bail set at $75,000.00 with an arraignment date yet to be determined. Fernandez was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday afternoon.