3 Indicted in Shill Bidding in Online Art Auction

Share this content:
Three men have been indicted on charges of using 40 online user IDs to pump up the bidding on eBay auctions in a series of scams that cost art buyers $450,000, according to a published report last week.

In one case, the men tried to sell a fake painting purportedly by abstract artist Richard Diebenkorn for $135,000, according to the indictment. The men made 50 bids on the painting before a Dutch buyer offered $135,000, the winning bid. The fake was later discovered and the sale nullified.

Indicted were Kenneth A. Walton, 33, of Sacramento, CA; Kenneth Fetterman, 33, of Placerville, CA; and Scott Beach, 31, of Lakewood, CO. They face 16 counts of wire and mail fraud, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison and $1 million in fines if convicted.

Authorities have contacted Beach and Walton, who was banned from eBay after it was discovered that he had bid on his own item, the FBI said. The location of Fetterman, who also is charged with six counts of money laundering, is unknown.

The practice of bidding on one's own item, known as "shill bidding," is forbidden by eBay, San Jose, CA. According to the indictment, the men placed shill bids in 1,100 auctions between October 1998 and May 2000.

According to The New York Times, the FBI began investigating the trio after seeing a story in the newspaper about how Walton had bought the supposed Diebenkorn painting at a secondhand store and originally put it up for sale on eBay for 25 cents.


Next Article in Marketing Strategy

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

Since 1985, Melissa has helped thousands of companies clean, correct and complete contact data to better target and communicate with their customers. We offer a full spectrum of data quality solutions, including global address, phone, email, and name validation, identify verification - available for batch or real-time processes, in the Cloud or on-premise. Our service bureau provides dedupe, email/phone append and geographic/demographic append services for better targeting and insight. For direct mailers, Melissa offers easy-to-use address management/postal software, list hygiene services and 100s of specialty mailing lists - all with competitive pricing and excellent customer service.

Find out more here »

Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here

Relive the 2017 Marketing Hall of Femme

Click the image above