UPDATE: Charges of commications fraud levied against Shelden Aaron Ballard, of Ceder City, earlier this year were dismissed and the case against him dropped in 5th District Court on Aug. 9, 2016.
CEDAR CITY — A 28-year-old Cedar City man was arrested Monday on multiple felony counts related to the fraudulent sale of computer hardware.
Sheldon Aaron Ballard is accused of pocketing over $57,000 through alleged acts of communications fraud committed between late Nov. 23, 2015, and Jan. 21, 2016, according to a probable cause statement.
In November, Ballard contacted a sales representative of a company in Chino, California, and arranged for the sale of computer hardware valued at over $5,000. Ballard was given the payment, but the company didn’t didn’t receive the promised product, according to the statement.
Ballard contacted the same company again in January, but this time under an alias, and arranged for the sale of over $25,000 worth of hardware. Again, the victim didn’t receive what they had ordered.
“It was only after this loss and internal investigation that (the company) realized that Ballard and (the alias) were one in (sic) the same,” a Cedar City police officer involved in Ballard’s arrest wrote in the statement. “This was verified through email communications and comparing bank records.”
By Jan. 21, the California company had contacted Ballard and he had arranged to return the money. He told the company the money had been deposited into the wrong account. He also said he would refund the money to the company so it could be put in the proper account.
A forged bill of lading was given to the company by Ballard that showed the hardware it ordered had been shipped, according to the statement. Based on that information, the company paid another $25,000.
“This material did not exist,” the police police officer wrote in the statement. “The bill of lading was a forgery.”
While the situation with the California company was transpiring, Ballard also allegedly posed as a sales representative of a well-known electronics recycling company that had a relationship with a company out of Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania company placed an order for over $1,500 of computer hardware through Ballard and, as with the other company, did not receive it.
“The (electronics recycling company) ended up paying the (Pennsylvania company) the money in order to keep their reputation intact,” the statement read.
Ballard allegedly pocketed over $57,000 through fraudulent means.
Cedar City Police ultimately become involved and arrested Ballard Monday. He was booked into the Iron County Correctional Facility and charged with three counts of second-degree felony communications fraud, one third-degree felony count of communications fraud and one second-degree felony for theft.
A second-degree felony can carry a sentence of one to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. A third-degree felony carries a potential prison sentence of zero to five years and a fine of up to $5,000.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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