It was all legitimate when the man who responded to the Facebook Marketplace advertisement about a pricey watch for sale arrived at the seller’s house.
Both men met at a Wells Fargo Bank in Brea in Orange County. It was well-monitored by security cameras. Robert Nevarez believed he had found a buyer to his limited-edition Hublot watch, which cost $17,000
A man who identified himself as the brother of the potential buyer showed up wearing some pricey Converse Comme des Garçons shoes and driving a high-end Mercedes-Benz.
“He showed up in a really nice car, an S Class Mercedes, said he was from Beverly Hills, so I assumed he had money since he was here for a long time and had money to spend on a very expensive watch,” said Nevarez.
The sale was soon forgotten by the shine.
Nevarez was shown what appeared to be Bitcoin funds via an app by the man. The exchange was made in a nearby Starbucks.
Nevarez discovered that he was being swindled using decentralized digital currencies five minutes later as he headed home.
“The money disappeared, so I immediately messaged, tried to call,” Nevarez said. “I said, ‘Hey, the money’s not showing up.’ Nothing. No text message, no phone call.”
Police compare the situation to a modern-day check kiting scheme. The seller receives a deposit and the buyer sees it. However, the “buyer” doesn’t have the money to pay the check. Once the check clears the bank, all the money is gone.
“People have a lot of time out there,” said Nevarez. “If they’re going to cheat you, they’re going to find a way.”
The police claimed that the cryptocurrency was used to manipulate it twice even though it exists only once.
“He did everything he knew was right,”Aga Tokugawa (Brea Police Investigator) said. “Not knowing this is how Bitcoin operates, it takes a little more time to verify.”
Security camera images captured the man who turned up at the sale. The distinctive high-top snekaers can be seen on him.
“We know the pictures aren’t great, but someone forgot to tell this guy that he should at least try to blend in when committing a crime,”Brea Police made the statement in a Tweet “If you recognize Mr. Flashy Shoes, contact Investigator Tokugawa.”
Anyone with information about the case was asked to call at 714-671-3675 or email [email protected]