West Monroe man bilked eBay customers out of nearly $2M in 5 weeks, gets 4 years in prison


FILE – In this July 22, 2014, file photo, gold bars are stacked in a vault at the United States Mint, in West Point, N.Y. When fear is gripping markets, investors often run toward gold in a self-fulfilling prophecy. Gold on Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, jumped to again reach a seven-year high. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)

MONROE, La. (AP) — A 66-year-old Louisiana man has been sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to repay nearly $1.4 million for online customers who paid him for gold bullion or coins.

Randall Keith Byrd of West Monroe bilked eBay customers out of nearly $2 million over five weeks in March and June 2019, U.S. Attorney David Joseph said in a news release Thursday.

Byrd pleaded guilty in March to one count of wire fraud. U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty sentenced him Wednesday in Monroe, ordering three years of supervised release once Byrd is out of prison.

According to court testimony, Byrd listed gold bullion and coins which he never sent to customers, providing phony shipping and tracking information when they asked why their merchandise hadn’t arrived. He also used bank accounts, some of which he created in March and June 2019, for financial transactions with the proceeds from his fraudulent coin sales, according to the news release.

In September 2019, a search of his home found $228,700 in cash, a cashier’s check for $140,499.22, a Harley Davidson motorcycle, three Rolex watches, 66 gold and silver coins, and 11 firearms.

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