Southern Utah News Articles
Internet fraud arrest
The Kane County Drug Task Force concluded an investigation of an internet scammer, who had not only preyed on a local business, but had defrauded other unsuspecting people in multiple states.
Vince Barbagallo, 39, of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, would ‘sell’ merchandise on the Internet. The problem was once the purchase was made, no such product was delivered. Barbagallo had also lived in Michigan, New Jersey and Tennessee. He would scam people, then move to avoid prosecution.
The items he offered for sale often had large price tags, but he usually kept the price under $10,000, so as not to be on the FBI’s radar, among them specialty tech equipment and heavy equipment.
In January 2014, Barbagallo, acting as a heavy equipment broker, allegedly received a check for $27,900 from a Henry County Tennessee farmer for an unspecified piece of equipment owned by another man. Barbagallo took the money and left.
The Kane County Sheriff’s office was made aware of the ruse in Kanab over a year ago, when local internet business Xpressweb was victimized. The item of intended purchase was a fiber optic splicer. It was purchased for approximately $10,000, but no product was delivered.
The KCSO Task Force went after the guy. Internet fraud is no small crime to investigate. Detective Dan Watson gave credit to the Sheriff’s Office and county prosecutor for being supportive on a crime that often times is considered difficult, time-consuming and expensive to pursue. Since the crime was interstate, it usually would go to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but the agency declined investigating.
“We located him and e-mailed him concerning an equipment purchase,” explained Watson on how they caught him.
“After being caught, Barbagallo would steal from one victim to pay restitution to another victim, thereby avoiding prosecution. He was taking advantage of these people,” said Watson.
Barbagallo pleaded guilty to fraud in Kane County, a second degree felony, and is currently in the Kane County Public Safety Facility serving his sentence of 45 days and restitution.