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  1. #1

    Default Buying Equipment Out of Home Territory at a Discount

    Hello,

    About 4 years back I agreed to buy a large amount of equipment from a certain huge multi-national company.

    The deal was that if I bought above a certain volume, I would get a certain discount.

    I worked with this companys midwest sales team but my office was actually in California at the time so the midwest sales team made me receive the equipment in their territory (and get invoiced there) so they could get commission on the sale, which I've learned is apparently against the sales policy of the company. I bought and paid up front for the equipment.

    Roughly 6 months ago I was visited by the secret service and they said that they were investigating me for wire fraud since technically I didn't have an office in that territory so therefore the sales team I was working with wasn't authorized to give me the volume discount...and therefore I "stole" the difference between the price I paid and whatever price I should have gotten if I used the California sales team. I acted with the full authorization of both the sales team and regional management and paid for everything.

    How can this be fraud? I've never hurt anybody or stolen anything in my life.

    Can the government actually even prove "loss" since I wouldn't have even done the deal if I hadn't received the volume discount and the price I was quoted was pretty standard for that size of deal and way, way above cost for the the company I purchased from.

    I lost everything I had when the markets (and the California real estate market crashed) so I've had to retain a federal public defender. I can't even get him to call me back.

    I haven't been indicted yet and I may not be but the stress is tearing me apart.

    Is there a case here or are they just trying to scare me?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    7,860

    Default Re: Can This Be Fraud

    Do you have anything in writing indicating they knew you were outside their region? I guess they could argue you didn't tell them in order to obtain a discount you were not entitled to which can be fraud. Maybe someone higher up found out about it and the people you worked with threw you under the bus to save themselves.
    If the people you were working with were not, in fact, authorized to allow it but did knowing you were in CA then I don't think they could charge you. Just fire the morons that made the deal.

    Did this company not have an office/region that covered CA? If they did, and you intentionally worked with another office in order to get the discount, you have a problem. I don't know if that necessarily is criminal but it does make you look guilty as hell.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Can This Be Fraud

    This company does have a CA office (west coast anyhow). I honestly went price shopping. The midwest division needed to make their numbers so were willing to be more aggressive with the price and their managment agreed to give me the price I wanted but only if I purchased above a certain volume. I can prove that they knew my company was from California, even their regional manager who is now an executive director...so I don't see how they can say it's fraud.

    They told me that they needed to ship inside their territory so they would get commission. I don't understand how they can try and tell me I'm a criminal because a sales policy at an unregulated company was broken. As far as I know I received the volume discount because I purchased the required volume. I did so with the full approval and understanding of the sales team and upper regional management. I paid in full for everything.

    It just doesn't make sense to me.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    7,860

    Default Re: Can This Be Fraud

    Best guess is, as I stated in my PP, someone got called on it and threw you under the bus by saying you lied. Have you tried contacting the company to see what the issue is?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Can This Be Fraud

    No, I haven't tried contacting them directly yet. I'm worried about witness tampering laws. I have a federal public defender but he won't call me back and it's been 2 months now.

    I talked with their reseller, the company I actually paid for the equipment, and they can't believe that there is any fraud. They are willing to testify for me.

    I haven't slept a full night in more than 6 months now and I've lost about over 30 pounds from the stress.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    7,860

    Default Re: Can This Be Fraud

    I would say don't stress it until you are formally charged. If the Secret Service comes by again, tell them you don't wish to speak to them further without your attorney present. Then give them your attorneys name in CA. You also need to follow up with the public defender's office and see if they can help you with the difficulties with your PD. Part of the problem is probably the time difference. Any chance you can get someone local to assist?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    98,846

    Default Re: Buying Equipment Out of Home Territory at a Discount

    Quote Quoting TerrifiedinChicago
    View Post
    I lost everything I had when the markets (and the California real estate market crashed) so I've had to retain a federal public defender.
    What do you mean by that? If you haven't been charged, how have you managed to have a lawyer appointed by a court to represent you?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Buying Equipment Out of Home Territory at a Discount

    The Secret service were calling me up every day asking me to make phone calls to a huge company that also deals with the same type of equipment I was purchasing/selling.

    I ended up in the emergency room with heart problems / exhaustion / weight loss from all the stress. I called the Federal defenders office afterwards and they contacted the AUSA asking if he would mind if they assigned a representative. He said yes and "He can really help himself out before indictment" and they had me sign a financial affidavit then assigned me to an attorney who apparently refuses to talk to me.

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
    View Post
    What do you mean by that? If you haven't been charged, how have you managed to have a lawyer appointed by a court to represent you?
    I tried to get a federal public defender in Chicago but she said that she had a certain "jurisdiction" and since the case was assigned out of Los Angeles, that I would need the FD California-Central office to assign someone to me.

    I don't think the problem in contacting my defender is due to the time difference. I make sure to contact him during his office hours (2 hours behind me) but I've never once received a phone call back from him. When I get him on the phone he always tells me he's on his way out of the office and he'll call back "later this afternoon" or "tomorrow".
    I never end up hearing from him.

    I've literally tried to contact him dozens of times now and I've started documenting time and result.

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