UPDATE: Puna Man Charged in Coachella Ticket Scam
A 19-year-old Puna man was charged Tuesday by police in connection with a scam involving the supposed selling over the internet of tickets for a California concert.
Police said Anthony Derick Berson of Kea‘au was charged Thursday with four counts of second-degree theft, four counts of use of a computer in the commission of a separate crime and a single county of third-degree theft.
Berson was released without bail on his own recognizance. He is scheduled to appear in District Court on May 29.
Police continue to look for other potential victims.
Berson used various aliases while posting ads on craigslist including Nathan Parker, Christopher Wilson, Terry Morton and Trevor Hart.
Police became aware of the scam when four victims on the mainland reported that they had responded to a posting on craigslist for the sale of tickets to the sold-out Coachella Music Festival being held this weekend in Indio, Calif.
Police said the supposed seller arranged for the money to be wired to him after which he would send them festival passes and wrist bands by Federal Express.
The victims reported sending the money but never received the passes or bands.
Big Island detectives joined forces with the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to set up a sting operation.
An investigator with the DCCA’s Office of Consumer Protection posed as a buyer of three sets of passes and wrist bands, and exchanged password information with the alleged scammer to collect payment in the amount of $900.
Berson was arrested when he attempted to use the password to collect the money at the Western Union office in Hilo.
The suspect was being held at the Hilo cellblock while police continue the investigation.
Other victims of the alleged fraud are asked to contact Det. Derek Morimoto at 961-2380 or by email at [email protected]