The Alameda County Sheriff's Department on Wednesday announced the arrest of a man from Florida after a Hayward woman was scammed out of $6,000 in Super Bowl tickets that she paid for online, but never received.
Sgt. J.D. Nelson said police in Coral Springs, Fla., arrested Robert Pham, 37, on Tuesday in connection with a felony theft by false pretenses. His detectives have been working hard since late January, when Sharon Osgood of Hayward was the victim of his alleged scam. Pham is now awaiting extradition to the East Bay.
Nelson said working this crime was painstaking; Pham had listed 15 different addresses from Florida to Nevada, which investigators had to track down. Pham also had multiple bank accounts, which police shut down.
Nelson said that this particular crime, just "ticked everyone off."
Osgood's tale, first reported by the Mercury News in Janurary, began when she was scouring the Internet looking for good deals on Super Bowl tickets so she could see her beloved San Francisco 49ers play the Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans.
She found an offer on Craiglist. She said someone named "R. Thomas Pham Quan" was selling four tickets for $5,900. He told her that he was a tax attorney in Boca Raton, Fla., and a Baltimore Ravens season ticket holder. She said she texted and spoke on the phone with this person for four days, she said. She wired the money to the man's credit union, and a few days later received a FedEx package with no Super Bowl tickets inside. Instead, Osgood was sent a picture of quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick and Joe Flacco with a message underneath that read: "Enjoy the game!!!! Go Ravens!!!
While some people criticized Osgood for being so gullible, she said that she had spent four days texting and talking to this person and felt like she trusted him.
Others though, took pity on her.
Ticketmaster gave her four free tickets and the 49ers gave her an extra for her nephew's girlfriend, who fell ill just before the Big Game with an ear infection. Osgood said she tried to return the ticket to the 49ers, but the team said just to keep it. She ended up paying it forward at the game, and gave the extra ticket to a stranger she knew as "Ray from L.A."
She knew some people doubted her. But the arrest vindicates those naysayers.
"If this stops him from preying on innocent people," she said, "then 'Yay!' ''
NBC Bay Area's Terry McSweeney contributed to this report.