A former Sacramento man pleaded guilty today to wire fraud for defrauding customers of his motorized wheelchair and scooter business.
Carlos B. Jerez, 35, who lived most recently in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., pleaded guilty in federal court in Sacramento to 16 counts of wire fraud, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.
According to court documents, Jerez owned 1st Class Mobility Inc., a business that offered to sell motorized wheelchairs and scooters over the Internet. Between April 2008 and April 20009, Jerez and 1st Class Mobility received payment from consumers for motorized wheelchairs and scooters but had neither the ability nor intention to deliver the devices.
Although he received prepayment for the chairs, Jerez did not deliver the products ordered and made various misrepresentations about the status of the products, such as saying that they were stuck in customs or were on a slow ship from China, officials said. He also falsely claimed that refunds were available, or that a refund check had been issued.
Officials said a number of the victims were disabled, elderly or disabled veterans.
Jerez is to be sentenced May 21 by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller.
The case resulted from an investigation by the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office as part of the Sacramento Valley Hi-Tech Crimes Task Force, a partnership between state and local law enforcement agencies to investigate crimes including fraud using computers and the Internet.