Jury Convicts E-Commerce Business Owner of Multiple Felonies
News from the Office of District Attorney George Gascón
JURY CONVICTS E-COMMERCE BUSINESS OWNER OF MULTIPLE FELONIES
SAN FRANCISCO – Today, District Attorney George Gascón announced that a jury found Roger Kuo, age 48, of San Francisco, guilty of seven counts of grand theft in connection with a fraudulent internet retail scheme operated via TheFinestWatches.com. Six different victims experienced losses totaling $161,171.
“If you want to do business in San Francisco you can’t lie to your customers, no matter where they are,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “A successful e-commerce economy depends on consumer trust, and those that violate that trust will be held accountable.”
According to court records, Defendant Kuo would offer high-end watches on his website, over the phone and via email which he did not have in his inventory. He would take unsuspecting customers’ money and never provide the watch in return. In total, Mr. Kuo was found guilty of theft in connection with the promise to sell five different watches, ranging from $16,100 to $34,775. In addition, he took a 3.02 carat diamond on consignment, agreeing to sell it and keep only 10 percent of the proceeds. Instead, he pocketed 100 percent of the proceeds.
The case was initially reported through SFDA’s Consumer Mediation Unit. Prosecutors combed through over 50,000 pages of bank and sales records in order to locate victims and their money. During the course of the six week trial nine victims testified. They came from as far away as Malaysia, France, and Nigeria. Other victims flew in from Florida, Minnesota, New York City, and Los Angeles. After the initial charges were filed, prosecutors identified two additional victims and have since charged Mr. Kuo with two more counts of grand theft.
“This case was a paper chase, but the defendant’s crimes ultimately caught up with him,” said Assistant District Attorney Daniel Amador.
Mr. Kuo will be sentenced on May 17th in Department 19. The Honorable Charles Crompton presided. This successful prosecution is the result of an excellent investigation conducted by District Attorney Inspector Jason Collom. Special thanks go to Consumer Mediation specialist Ethel Newlin. Additional thanks go to paralegals Reg Clay, Mar Stevens and Chloe Mosqueda. Assistant District Attorney Daniel Amador prosecuted the case.