In an amazing twist to my ebay story last month about an abusive (and possibly fraudulent) ebay seller, the owner of the company behind the ebay id macworkstwo was just indicted for allegedly running a counterfit Cisco equipment ring at the same time — and the story gets even better. This isn’t his first time being in trouble with the feds. It turns out that he’s been previously convicted for mail fraud and even served time in Leavenworth for it.
First, the breaking story. Chris Myers of Leawood, KS, made his first court appearance yesterday on charges that he conspired with Timothy Weatherly, 27, of Overland Park to:
- Buy counterfit Cisco equipment from China
- Put fake Cisco labels on it
- Sell it as real Cisco equipment on ebay via the ebay user id direct2technology, (now shut down by ebay)
He is facing one count of conspiracy, 30 counts of trafficking in counterfit good and 1 count of trafficking in counterfit lables. According to this story and this story he would put them in fake Cisco boxes with fake Cisco manuals. They allededly even gave instructions to their Chinese counterparts on how to make the items look more authentic. (Just me theorizing here, but I bet the Feds have either recorded phone conversations and/or emails with all kinds of evidence.)
The amazing part (allegedly) is that the Feds started seizing their shipments in 2005, and they continued to do it! They tried to fool them by shipping to different addresses, one of which was in Oregon. They also tried routing via other countries so the shipments didn’t look like they were coming from China. What guts (and stupidity) these guys had to keep it up after it was obvious that the Feds were onto them!
He was allegedly doing all of this while also running the “legitimate” business that he used to sell me two iMacs while trying to ship me only one. This matches his MO from his previous conviction, where he has a “legitimate” business on one hand, while doing fraudulent stuff with another business on the other hand. Of course, when the Feds come crashing in, they don’t really care what name is on the paperwork, they ask you to step away from your desks as they have a search warrant. Meanwhile, employees of the “legitimate” business and left looking dumbounded as to why they would be raided. (That little tidbit came from a source who knows Mr. Myers. They contacted me personally after seeing my original blog post.)
A little back story
Twelve years ago Chris Myers owned a company called Macworks (hence the ebay name Macworkstwo) and plead guilty to mail fraud when he got caught cheating Apple Computers out of $320,000 in rebates for computers that he pretended to sell. (Macworks in Lenexa — now dead — should not be confused with these guys or these guys, who happen to have the same name.)
In early 1997, he had his Apple license pulled for violating his reseller agreement. (He apparently wasn’t supposed to be selling via mail/internet at the time.) Then shortly thereafter he and his mother were indicted for defrauding them of the $320,000. He plead guilty and spent a few years in Leavenworth federal prison for that. (Again, that last tidbit came from the internal source.) As part of the plea-bargain, he agreed to sell his interest in Macworks. He does that in August of 1997.
But if you look at this link, you’ll see that he opened his ebay account macworkstwo in September 1997 — one month later. If you scan through his feedback, you’ll find eight brave souls (one of which was me) who called him on the nonsense that he tries to pull with this “legitimate” company. He says in his listings that his used Macs are from Apple Remarketing, which doesn’t exist, unless he means a car dealership in Arlington, TX. He liked to sell used equipment as new here, here and here. He also liked lying about the condition of the item. And, as I found out, he likes to refer to buyers who give him negative feedback as “stick up artists”, such as here and here.
I did waste a lot of my time with this guy. I was cursed at, abused, and treated lower than whale slime by this guy. Read the end of the last story for details on that. But I did get my money back, so I felt pretty happy about the overall outcome. Essentially, paypal came through for me and made him refund the money. But right now, all I’m feeling is a little bit of schadenfreude. Is that wrong?
In case you’re wondering (like I was) if this is the same guy, all his stuff links together. The biggest smoking gun for me is that the Macworkstwo account was started a month after he was convicted and forced to sell Macworks. The name of the guy abusing me was Chris Myers, and his email address is Chris@Dealstarz.com in Lenexa. The Chris Myers in the story also ran a company called Deals Express. (Macworks, Macworkstwo, Deals Express, Deal Starz… Boy, this guy has some imagination.) I’m convinced.
I did send all these links and information to ebay’s fraud department, and they said they would look into why a guy being indicted for conspiracy and trafficking, and formerly convicted for mail fraud, is being allowed to sell on ebay. I’m not sure we can lock him up and throw away the key, but I’m thinking there is no reason why this guy should ever have an ebay id again. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to his ebay id.
----- Signature and Disclaimer -----
Written by W. Curtis Preston (@wcpreston). For those of you unfamiliar with my work, I've specialized in backup & recovery since 1993. I've written the O'Reilly books on backup and have worked with a number of native and commercial tools. I am now Chief Technical Architect at Druva, the leading provider of cloud-based data protection and data management tools for endpoints, infrastructure, and cloud applications. These posts reflect my own opinion and are not necessarily the opinion of my employer.