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Utahn sentenced in eBay fraud case

Russell Dana Smith, also known as John P. Leary, was sentenced Tuesday to 50 months in federal prison for devising a scheme to defraud winning bidders of eBay auctions.

U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell sentenced Smith to prison and ordered him to serve 60 months of supervised release when he completed his prison term. In addition, Smith must pay $884,792.21 in restitution.

According to a statement by the U.S. Justice Department District of Utah, prosecutors are seeking permission to use assets seized in the case to help pay restitution to victims.

Smith was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2003 on 54 counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, credit union fraud, misuse of a Social Security number and failure to file a tax return.

In June, Smith pleaded guilty to six counts of mail fraud, credit union fraud and failure to file a tax return.

Smith auctioned computers and other items over eBay through a company called Liquidation Universe. In many cases, he failed to deliver the items.

The case, which was investigated by the FBI, South Salt Lake Police Department, Utah Cybercrime Task Force, IRS and Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office, is considered one of the largest domestic auction frauds conducted on eBay.


E-mail: danderton@desnews.com