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Conyers man gets seven years as ringleader in fraudulent eBay scheme

1/3/2014, 6 a.m.

Jason Christopher Spellen of Conyers, the accused leader of a multi-state operation that sold stolen merchandise on eBay, has been sentenced to seven years in prison and ordered to forfeit nearly $1.7 million.

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Jason Spellen

Spellen, 28, pleaded guilty in March 2013 to Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act conspiracy.

U.S. District Judge William Steele imposed the sentence on Dec. 30 in Mobile, Ala.

Court documents say the case was prosecuted in Mobile because an undercover Secret Service agent based in Mobile made purchases from the group.

Secret Service agents searched Spellen’s house in Conyers in November 2011 and then began bringing charges.

Spellen also will be required to forfeit assets from his home and storage unit and participate in “residential, comprehensive substance abuse treatment while incarcerated.”

Steele also ordered that he serve his prison sentence at a facility “as close to his family in Atlanta, Ga., as possible.”

Spellen was described by federal prosecutors as a leader of the “Spellen Enterprise,” a group that sold fraudulently obtained and stolen electronics on eBay and by other means.

The operation spanned 26 states and involved 14,000 items, some of which were purchased from retail stores using counterfeit credit cards and driver’s licenses.

A dozen others have pleaded guilty in the case and received up to 10 years in prison. Spellen’s sentence was less because he cooperated with investigators.

His brother, 23-year-old Raymond Spellen, also pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in March and was sentenced in June to three years of probation and six months of house arrest.

Ten defendants were indicted by an October 2012 federal grand jury and charged with operating a RICO conspiracy, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1962(d).

The indictment contained a forfeiture notice seeking a $7,000,000 money judgment.

Indicted along with the Spellen brothers were Steven P. Marks of Atlanta; Tariq Rashid Sims, aka Tai, of Atlanta; Corey Timmons of Atlanta; Andrew Valentino Wilson III of Atlanta, Miguel Lawayne Taylor of Arizona; Kevin Maurice Demps of Detroit; Maurice Allen Haggen of Detroit; and Raphael Ward, aka Jayson Taylor, of Detroit.

They all faced a maximum possible penalty of 20 years in prison if convicted.

Jason Spellen also was charged with six additional counts to include money laundering; Taylor also was charged with money laundering and mail fraud; and Marks, Sims and Timmons also were charged with conspiracy to sell stolen merchandise.

The RICO count alleged the Spellen Enterprise fraudulently purchased electronics, such as PlayStation3’s, iPods and iPads, from retail stores using counterfeit credit cards and drivers’ licenses provided by other members of the conspiracy and by use of lines of credit from retail stores.

U.S. Attorney Kenyen Brown called the scope and sophistication of the fraud scheme “startling” when the indictments were announced on Nov. 15, 2012.

“While technological advances may present new avenues for thieves to procure and sell their stolen goods, law enforcement will continue to use every tool at its disposal to bring law breakers to justice,” Brown said.

The Secret Service was assisted by the U.S. Postal Service, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and the eBayProAct team.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah Griffin.