A man from Westminster was recently sentenced in his criminal case. The 20-year-old Maryland man was accused of trying to sell a ship to a broker that the man did not own. He pleaded guilty to attempted theft, and in exchange, he was sentenced to five years of probation.
In 2012, the man supposedly called a ship broker in from a southeastern state and offered to sell him a container ship for $900,000. The man allegedly used an alias when he called the broker. The broker, however, felt that the asking price was too low, so the broker decided to call the ship’s real owner. How the broker got this information and whether the broker felt as if he was being scammed when he made the call were not expounded upon.
When the broker got in touch with the real owner, the owner said that the ship was not for sale. Upon hearing this, the broker contacted the authorities, and the authorities were apparently able to trace the suspect’s IP address and cell phone number. An undercover officer set up a sting operation in which he agreed to buy the ship and wire the money to the suspect.
The Maryland man originally faced a sentence of five years in prison if he had been found guilty. Instead, he elected to accept a plea bargain and pleaded guilty to attempted theft so that he could avoid prison and serve five years of probation instead. As with any criminal case, the accused person has the right to choose from several different options. Even though not all cases will have the option to negotiate a plea agreement, those individuals that do have the opportunity should weigh the consequences carefully before making a decision. They will also want to ensure that their legal rights are safeguarded through every step of the process.
Source: abc27.com, Maryland man convicted in ship sale scam, No author, Feb. 28, 2014
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