September 2, 2005
Kansas City, Mo. — Attorney General Jay Nixon today obtained a temporary restraining order in Jackson County Circuit Court against a Kansas City man who reportedly collected more than $43,000 from the sale of at least 150 items on Internet auction sites, then never delivered the merchandise.
At Nixon's request, the court issued an order preventing John Woody (DOB 08/29/74), of the 300 block of Armour Boulevard, from engaging in Internet sales and auctions. Nixon is also asking that the court order full restitution for all customers who never received a refund or merchandise and impose a penalty of $1,000 for each violation, a monetary penalty payable to the state Merchandising Practices Revolving Fund, and full restitution to the state for the cost of investigating and prosecuting the case.
"Scam artists have come to think that instead of running the risk of being caught by ripping people off in broad daylight, they can seek refuge behind a computer screen. They are dead wrong," Nixon said. "Fake Internet auction scams are quickly becoming one of the most frequently reported forms of fraud, and we will do everything in our power to shut them down in the state of Missouri."
A lawsuit filed by Nixon alleges that between March 2005 and June 2005, Woody ran at least 12 auctions featuring 150 items with net proceeds of $43,678.44. Usually, the items offered for sale were DVDs and video games. The lawsuit further alleges that after the winning bidder submitted payment, the merchandise was never shipped. Afterwards, Woody refused to provide a refund and would not respond to e-mails and registered letters inquiring about the merchandise.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, auction fraud accounts for 71 percent of all Internet fraud complaints. Nixon says Missouri consumers can avoid being a victim of Internet auction fraud by knowing how these auctions work, learning as much as possible about the seller before bidding, and finding out in advance how the auction site handles disputes.
If you find yourself a victim of Internet auction fraud you should contact the site operator and state and local authorities, as well as authorities in the seller's place of residence, Nixon said.
Missourians who wish to report any type of consumer fraud can do so via the Attorney General's Consumer Hotline toll-free at 800-392-8222, or on the Web.