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Fraud Charges Dismissed After Mishandled Internet Sale

With the growing popularity of selling items online, the need for caution has also never been greater. When sellers and buyers are anonymous, a host of problems can arise, some even requiring help from experienced legal professionals.

Some time ago, a Virginia woman recently found herself in a compromising legal position, when she sold a classic automobile to an out-of-state buyer through an online posting. The woman was unaware of the car’s condition or value, so she obtained an appraisal from a third party. After securing what she believed to be an accurate evaluation, she posted an ad describing the car. The car was eventually sold to a man halfway across the country, but upon receipt, he discovered the vehicle did not have all of the features it advertised. This obviously upset the buyer and when he alerted the woman about the discrepancy, she offered to refund the man’s payment and pay for the car’s return shipment.

Unfortunately, this offer was not sufficient to appease the man and he alerted Virginia law enforcement, leading to the possibility of her facing fraud charges. When the woman found out about this, she was clearly worried about the impact a fraud-related crime could have on her life, so she decided to contact a Roanoke criminal defense lawyer with Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico.

Attorney Rick Derrico began reviewing the events that led to this state of affairs and set to work to alleviate her concerns. It quickly became apparent that her fraud situation was the result of trusting an appraiser, who was unfit to perform an accurate estimate due to his advanced age and declining mental state. During a meeting with the investigator, attorney Derrico presented his findings along with supporting documentation that showed his client did not have the required intent to willfully misrepresent the car’s value, condition, and features.

By effectively showing that his client based the sale on an inaccurate appraisal, it was clear no crime was committed and no charges were pursued. In the end, the buyer decided to keep the car in its actual condition and the woman avoided fraud charges by making the sensible decision to handle the matter with a skilled Roanoke criminal defense lawyer.

The outcome of an individual case depends on a variety of factors unique to that case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any similar or future case.