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Published: Friday, 3/19/2004

Toledo man is charged with federal wire fraud

A Toledo man defrauded people from around the United States of about $100,000 by enticing them to buy discounted gift cards for large chain stores that were never delivered, David Bauer, head of the U.S. Attorneys Office in Toledo, said yesterday.

Douglas W. Sharp, 52, of 657 South Byrne Rd. used the Internet to advertise the discounted gift cards.

He did not send cards to 189 people who paid for them. The use of the Internet to carry out the scheme was a violation of federal wire fraud statutes, according to a bill of information that was filed against him in U.S. District Court.

The Internet transactions took place between March 25, 2003, and July 14, 2003, court records said.

The cards advertised were for stores such as Home Depot, Office Max, and Sears.

"That was the bait," Mr. Bauer said. "People would send in their money, and no gift card was ever received."

No court date has been set in the case.

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