WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- A U.S. federal district court shut down the Internet activities of two con artists who used stolen identities to sell nonexistent goods in online auctions.
James Thompson and Susan Germek also used the stolen IDs to make it appear innocent third parties were guilty of fraud, the Federal Trade Commission said Thursday in a press release.
The two have been permanently barred from participating in Internet auctions and face charges of making false claims about having and being able to deliver merchandise to consumers and misusing consumers' personal information.
Since the FTC sued them in April 2003, Thompson and Germek have been indicted for mail fraud by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Northern District of Illinois stemming from their Internet auction operation.
Germek pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and is awaiting sentencing; no trial date has been set for Thompson.
According to the FTC, since early 1999 the defendants opened numerous accounts on Internet auction Web sites offering various items of merchandise for sale, including computer software and electronics.
They allegedly accepted payment from consumers, then failed to deliver the promised merchandise, the FTC said.