Tuesday, May 19, 2009

eBay Forger Pleads Guilty

Given the evidence against him this cannot possibly come as a surprise. Forrest Smith III, the 47-year old Reading, PA man who was indicted back in late January on charges of forging authors' signatures in books and selling them on eBay, has entered a guilty plea. Pennsylvania news outlets are reporting tonight that Smith pled to three counts of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud, and faces "a maximum sentence of 80 years in prison, a $1 million fine, and restitution when he's sentenced in September."

Prosecutors found evidence that Smith was buying the books on one eBay account, stamping them with custom-made signature stamps, and then selling them as signed through a different account. How on earth he did this for six years without his buyers realizing the "signatures" they were getting had been stamped is totally beyond me. Smith is believed to have conned at least 1,000 people, and made more than $300,000 in the process.

[Update: The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.]