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Ingram man accused as accomplice in 'mystery shopper' scam

Torsten Ove - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - 18-08-09
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Ingram man accused as accomplice in 'mystery shopper' scam

A federal grand jury said an Ingram man with ties to a Nigerian group was involved in a "mystery shopper" scam that ripped off numerous unwitting targets.

Robert Shon Jackson, 42, was indicted last week under seal on fraud counts. The case was unsealed on Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

According to the indictment, Mr. Jackson conspired with criminals in Nigeria and elsewhere in a scheme in which American victims were falsely led to believe they were being employed to evaluate retail and business services.

In such scams, the mark receives a fake postal money order or a bogus check to provide the funds for them to buy a product to review. They then negotiate the fake check or money order and send a portion of it to someone designated by the fraudsters, typically by wire transfer.

By the time that happens, the fake monetary instrument is returned to the bank as bogus and the victim is then charged for the funds paid to them by the bank.

In Jackson's case, he is accused of conspiring with criminals in Nigeria and elsewhere to prepare and address fraudulent mail containing the counterfeit money orders or checks to 21 people who thought they were being recruited to be mystery shoppers.

The victims cashed the checks to make purchases and then wired the excess money to Jackson.

The money orders and checks were then returned as counterfeit by the victims' banks and they had to repay the banks from their own funds.

Jackson is accused of wiring the money he received to his co-conspirators in Nigeria. The total loss associated with him was $42,744.

The grand jury said Jackson, as the U.S. accomplice of the schemers overseas, received bulk shipments containing a total of 1,820 fake money orders valued at $1.7 million.

He appeared briefly Wednesday in U.S. District Court and was released on bond pending trial.


Tags: Mystery shopper, scam, Robert Shon Jackson, Nigerian, counterfeit, postal money order, bogus check

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