Fort Oglethorpe resident Kary Dean Head will spend three years in federal prison for defrauding eBay bidders out of more than $150,000.
Head had pleaded guilty in September to nine counts of wire fraud and fraud by swindle after charging more than 100 people for 1-ounce American Eagle Silver coins that he never delivered.
U.S. District Judge Harold L. Murphy read Head’s sentence Friday morning.
A victim of the scheme and an eBay fraud investigator testified at the two-hour sentence hearing.
Keith Melancon, an officer in the Air Force, testified how he had paid $120 for coins to reward his troops for jobs well done. He said he tried numerous times to contact Head regarding his purchase, but finally had to contact eBay to report fraud after waiting weeks for his shipment that never came.
eBay Fraud Investigator Jeremy Roybal described Head’s scheme as a “breakout fraud” where online merchants sell less valuable items in order to establish a good track record and then try to sell more expensive items in a short amount of time to cash in – without delivering the goods.
“It looks like an account that’s just bringing in money and nothing’s going out,” Roybal said of Head’s eBay activity.
Roybal said after the hearing that “it’s not common” for such grand-scale fraud to happen on eBay.
“I am deeply deeply sorry for the errors I have made,” Head told the court before hearing his sentence. “I am here today to ask for your mercy.”
But Federal Prosecutor Lawrence Sommerfeld told the court, “It’s unclear whether (Head) fully accepts responsibility for his crime.”
In a letter he sent to Judge Murphy in December after pleading guilty, Head describes a coin business that was growing so rapidly that it must have caused a “red flag” with eBay, prompting the company to shut his account down.
“eBay always shoots first and ask (sic) questions later,” Head wrote in the letter. He later implied that eBay had shut him down before he could deliver certain coins to certain customers.
But Sommerfeld reiterated it was not a “business mistake” that had happened with Head’s sBay account, but fraud.
Judge Murphy said it was “very said that a man is being sent to prison” because, among other things, he was trying to support his family.
“Mr. Head appears to be genuinely regretful, and it would do no good to punish him more harshly,” Judge Murphy said.
Head could have received as much as 20 years in prison.
In addition to serving time, Head must also pay $137,000 in restitution.