Authorities charge Philadelphia man in "secret shopper" fake job scam.
David Brister, 56, has been charged with wire fraud and other crimes after scamming dozens of people around the country out of $98,000 using an elaborate counterfeit check scheme, according to authorities.
Brister was arrested Thursday morning. Investigators say he, and an accomplice living outside of the United States, allegedly duped recipients of counterfeit checks and money orders into depositing the items into their bank accounts and wiring money to him.
In one alleged scheme, investigators say Brister and his accomplice posted advertisements on Craigslist.com for fake jobs which included phony positions such as “secret shoppers” and “administrative assistants.” Police say whenever a person answered the advertisement and was hired for the fake job, Brister or his accomplice would allegedly send counterfeit money to the “new employee” along with a set of instructions on how to complete their “employment” obligations.
Police say the instructions generally involved depositing the checks or money orders into their own bank accounts, keeping a portion as their “salary” and sending the rest of the money to Brister via Western Union or MoneyGram. Investigators say only after wiring the funds to Brister did the alleged victims learn that the checks and money orders they had deposited into their bank accounts were counterfeit.
Brister received a total of $98,000 from January 2008 to August 2012. Investigators also say Brister and another person planned to send more than $5.8 million worth of additional counterfeit checks and money orders to unsuspecting victims in the United States as part of their schemes.
He was charged with one count of conspiracy, five counts of mail fraud, 12 counts of wire fraud, two counts of presenting and transmitting counterfeit money orders, and four counts of passing and uttering counterfeit checks.
Brister faces a maximum possible sentence of 395 years in prison and fine of up to $6 million.