HILO, Hawaii: Police say four victims on the mainland fell prey to an alleged Craig’s List scam, in which they purchased tickets to the sold out Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California; tickets that never arrived in the mail.
The Hawaii County Police Department issued this media release:
Big Island police have arrested a 19-year Puna man in connection with an internet scam and are looking for additional victims.
Four victims on the mainland reported that they responded to a posting on Craig’s List by someone claiming to be selling tickets to the sold-out Coachella Music Festival being held this weekend in Indio, California. The supposed seller arranged for the victims to wire him money and said he would send them festival passes and wrist bands by Federal Express. The victims sent the money but never received the passes or armbands.
Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section collaborated on a joint operation with the Office of Consumer Protection in the Hawaiʻi Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.
As part of the joint sting operation, an investigator from the Office of Consumer Protection posed as a buyer who wanted three sets of passes and wrist bands. He and the seller agreed on a control number and password for the seller to use when claiming the money.
When Anthony Derick Berson of Keaʻau went to a Western Union office in Hilo on Tuesday (April 17) using the agreed-upon control number and password to claim $900, police detectives arrested him on suspicion of attempted theft and use of a computer in the commission of a separate crime.
Berson is being held at the Hilo police cellblock while detectives continue the investigation.
Police ask that any other victims of this alleged fraud contact Detective Derek Morimoto by phone at 961-2380 or by email at email@example.com.
Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.