(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien announced today the indictment of a Columbus man who allegedly ran a video game console scam on Craigslist. The indictments were the result of a collaborative investigation by the Worthington Police Department and the Attorney General's Economic Crimes Division.
"As I've said many times, my office is going after cyber fraud," said Attorney General DeWine. "We will continue to work with law enforcement and prosecutors around Ohio to crack down on criminals who steal from behind a computer screen."
Robert C. White, 33, of Columbus, was recently indicted by a Franklin County grand jury on one count of Felony Theft and 10 counts of Telecommunications Fraud. According to investigators, White posted dozens of Craigslist ads outside of Ohio, including Illinois, Michigan, New York, and Wisconsin, in 2010 and 2011 for video game consoles.
White allegedly duped victims into buying the consoles by telling them that an ex-girlfriend had given them to him. After victims allegedly paid him between $180 and $250, White never delivered the video game consoles. Detectives at the Worthington Police Department were able to trace many of the transactions as part of their investigation.
"The public should be careful in dealing with strangers or unknown businesses when making purchases through computer transactions," said Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien.
White is currently free on bond in an unrelated felony case.
Last July, Attorney General DeWine filed a civil lawsuit against White and another man. According to the lawsuit, they offered PlayStation 3 systems (PS3), PS3 games, and Boost Mobile phones and phone cards via Craigslist posts that primarily targeted out-of-state consumers. Their posts indicated they were Ohio residents, but they told potential out-of-state buyers that they previously lived in the buyer's state to gain their trust. They usually requested that payment be made through a wire transfer service, such as Western Union or MoneyGram. Once the buyers completed the payment, the men did not deliver the products and did not provide refunds.
Consumers who believe they may have been a victim of this individual or any other scam should file a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General's Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or by calling 800-282-0515. Victims can also contact the Franklin County Prosecutor's office at 614-525-3555.
Lisa Hackley: 614-466-3840
Mark Moretti: 614-466-3840