Fake Electronics Scam Dupes San Jose Buyers

Salesmen to police: We were selling "gag gifts"

By Jessica Greene
|  Tuesday, Aug 4, 2009  |  Updated 12:03 PM PDT
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Fake Electronics Scam Dupes San Jose Buyers

Santa Clara County Sheriff

The so-called salesmen filled brand new Sony TV boxes with wooden blocks, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office says.

A door-to-door South Bay sales operation is out of business -- thanks to police.

Two men sold fake laptops, plasma TVs and computers from the back of a minivan to people who thought they were getting a great deal, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's office said. Instead, the unsuspecting shoppers ended up with a great deal of fake merchandise.

Someone called police Thursday to report a suspicious man going from one house to another in the 13000 block of Highwood Ave. in San Jose.

The tipster told cops the man had tried to sell him a new laptop for $250 and a plasma TV for $450. The tipster's friend bought one of the TVs from the salesman but it turned out to be fake.

When cops got to the neighborhood, they found the men, searched their van and uncovered a gold mine of evidence.

Inside the vehicle they discovered 10 packages, each labeled as a brand new 46-inch Sony plasma flat-screen TV. But instead of TV sets, each box was filled with wooden blocks.

The search also revealed 25 packages labeled as brand new Dell computers, but inside the boxes? Broken computers.

Police arrested 48-year-old Darryl Williams and 53-year-old Vernon Green. The two men are no strangers to police. They later discovered Williams is a registered sex offender on probation for carrying a firearm and Green was on parole for identity theft. Both men are from Richmond.

Williams and Green first told police they weren't selling anything but were just "hanging out" in the neighborhood. They later 'fessed up to the sales but told police they were intended as gag gifts.

Green is still behind bars on no-bail parole and attempted grand theft by fraud violations but Williams was sprung on a $10,000 bail.

Sheriff's detectives believe more people fell for the scam and ask anyone who thinks they were duped by the faux salesmen to call 408-808-4500 or the anonymous tip line at 408-808-4431.

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